8U All Stars win two before title hopes slip away

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Marshall County's Kavares Tears (23) drills one of his three extra base hits in their 16-7 win over Livingston in the first round of the Cal Ripken 8U State Tournament in Lewisburg. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After a gala opening ceremonies that included legendary MCHS baseball manager Joe George's knuckle curve of the ceremonial first pitch and words of encouragement from state representative Eddie Bass and Marshall County mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, the 8U hometown all-stars went out and took care of business with a 16-7 win over Livingston on Friday in day one action of the Cal Ripken State Tournament at the Richard Cashion Sports Complex on Bobby Hurt Drive in Lewisburg.

Marshall County banged out twenty hits in the ballgame, led by Kavares Tears' extraordinary 4-4 effort at the plate.

Tears ripped a single, triple, and two doubles, scored four times, and knocked in three of his teammates in Marshall County's first pool play contest.

Max Kirby (5) rips a two-run double for the Marshall County 8U All-Stars in Sunday's loss to Donelson.

Zach Graves went 3-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Peyton Graves also had three hits in four at bats and drove in four and crossed home plate three times, and Max Kirby scored three times as he went 3-4 and had three RBIs.

A'ky Howard (2 RBIs, 2 RS), Justin Gillespie 2-4 (1 RBI, 1 RS), Ryan Kirby 2-4 (1 RS), and Nehemiah Tice 1-2 (1 RS, 2 RBIs) rounded out the offensive outburst.

Marshall County scored four runs in the top of the first inning and never trailed in the ballgame.

Livingston's Landon Brown knocked in two runners in the bottom of the second inning to cut the Marshall County's lead in half, but the host's came right back in the top of third with three runs to make it 7-2.

A pair of two-out, two-run base knocks by Brown and Garrett Hastings contributed to a four-run bottom of the third for Livingston as they trailed by one after the frame.

Once again, Marshall County would not let up, scoring three runs in the top of the fourth to take a 10-6.

Livingston managed a single run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Nick Brown before Marshall County put the game out of reach in the top of the sixth as the tallied six runs and opened up a 16-7 lead.

Tice had a two-run base knock in the explosion and Tears, Zach Graves, and Peyton Graves all knocked in one.

In the bottom of the final inning, a pop out to Zach Graves at shortstop, a strikeout, and a pop-up to Ryan Kirby at second ended the game.

On Saturday, the stars kept the momentum going with a solid 11-0 shutout performance versus the Smokey Mountain squad, making it a first place tie in Pool A between the Grassland All-Stars from Williamson County and the hosts.

The two squads would meet in the next game and Grassland would prevail 11-5, setting up a do or die situation Sunday morning versus the Donelson Diamond Dogs.

Marshall went down 1-2-3 in the first inning of the elimination game before the Diamond Dogs took an early 4-0 lead in the home half of the first.

Zach Graves led off the MC second with a base hit, but three straight outs left Graves stranded at first and Donelson scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by Robie Nyles to make it a 6-0 ballgame.

The Marshall County boys rallied in the third inning Nehemiah Tice led off with a single up the middle.

After two consecutive strikeouts it looked like the hosts would not come away with any runs, Blake Burnham kept things alive with a sharp base hit up the gut.

Ryan Kirby followed with an infield single before his cousin Max Kirby drilled a two-run double into the right field corner, scoring Tice and Burnham.

Tears followed with another RBI hit before the inning ended with the Dogs' lead cut in half at 6-3.

Donelson came right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the short-lived momentum away from Marshall County and the hosts would not score again in the contest and were eliminated from the tournament by the 8-3 final score.