Bubba's blast highlights district title clincher
The Marshall County 15-year old all-stars completed their three-game journey from the depths of the Babe Ruth District 8 Tournament loser's bracket in a confident manner, dominating Lawrenceburg from start to finish in a 7-3 title game win Sunday afternoon at Sam Davis Park in Pulaski.
"It was tough," said manager Steve Hobbs. "It was a lot of keeping the pitchers together and they all did well. They made me look really good, but a lot of times things don't fall in to place like that."
Regular season league MVP Jacob Graves came up huge on the mound, tossing six solid innings for the win and nine-hole hitter Bubba Houghton drilled his second homerun of the season in a big five-run second inning.
Skipper Hobbs said about Graves' effort, "He looked good; he struggled in his two outings, but not today. I was looking to get three innings out of Jacob, but when he gave us six, that was a big boost."
Aaron Hobbs, who led the league in batting this year, continued his stellar play with 3-4 performance at the plate, including two doubles and two runs scored.
Matt Callender earned the save and finished the tournament with two wins, one loss, and one save, and on Sunday Callender drove in three of his teammates, going 2-3 at the dish with a double and two runs scored.
Hobbs, in his usual manner started the game with double to left field and was sacrificed to second by Hunter Thomas, before scoring on a Lawrenceburg miscue in the field.
Graves gave up a leadoff single to Ben Wright in the bottom of the first, but retired the next three batters (two on strikeouts) to end the inning.
A one out single by Jacob Griffis in the second did not look like it would amount to much when Wright retired Blake Darnell on a line drive to center for out number two.
Houghton stepped inside the chalked box and lit the early fuse on some holiday fireworks when he drilled the first pitch he saw from Wright deep over the left field wall for a 3-0 Marshall County lead.
Houghton's homer fired up his teammates, who continued the scoring salvo with consecutive hits by Hobbs, Thomas, Aaron Medley, and Callender that accounted for three more runs to open up a 6-0 lead.
Skipper Steve Hobbs reminded his crew as they took the field in the bottom of the inning that the reason they were playing Sunday was because they had squandered a five-run lead versus the same Lawrenceburg squad on Friday night in a 10-9 loss.
Graves, who did a masterful job, scattered ten hits, but the gallant righty only gave up single runs in the bottom of the second, third, and fourth innings, while recording scoreless frames the remainder of his stint on the hill.
Callender drove in Thomas with run number seven for Marshall County in the fourth.
Thomas had an all-around solid tournament, turning in another great effort behind the plate on Sunday and at the plate, Thomas went 1-3 with two runs scored, one RBI, and a sacrifice bunt.
On defense, Marshall County was throwing some serious leather at Lawrenceburg with several great plays, including two from Hobbs at shortstop on an inning ending 5-6-3 fielder's choice after a two-out error in the fifth and a big double play in seventh inning.
Marshall County and Lawrenceburg both advance to the state tournament in Fayetteville, beginning on July 15.
"I am glad it is in Fayetteville," said Steve Hobbs. "I was thinking about that today and sleeping in our own beds will be big."
The longtime coach stated after the game that this all-star run would be his last as a manager and he would concentrate on his youngest daughter Alli's softball from now on.
"This is my last go-round with them, so we want to go as far as we can go," said Hobbs. "They know as a whole, this is it for us. It's been a thrill, it's sad, but it's a thrill. I have enjoyed the run, but I will enjoy it when it is over too."