Dusters beaten, baked in Virginia

Friday, July 29, 2011
Marshall County's Aaron Thomason gets some big congratulations from Dusters' skipper Mike "Monk" Reese as he rounds third and heads for his teammates at home plate after belting a dramatic eighth inning three-run walk off homerun at the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Tournament in Stafford, Virginia. Photos by Tracy Kilpatrick

The Marshall County Dusters arrived in Stafford, Virginia last week for the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Tournament at ground zero in the historic heat wave that swept the region, causing tournament director John Armentrout to shuffle the schedule after the first day, dictating teams play either early in the morning or after dark to beat the heat.

Marshall County head coach Mike "Monk" Reese said about the circumstances, "The first day we did not play very well. I think the heat got us. They had to shut it down after they got hit with all kinds of heat related problems."

The Dusters lost their first round game to Triangle, N.C. 13-3.

Dusters' backstop Brandon Bush had a hot weekend behind the plate and at the plate for Marshall County as they posted a 2-2 record, just missing out on the championship round of the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Tournament.

In game two, the Dusters took the field for an early morning game versus Orlando, Florida and had plenty of energy, plus some great pitching and timely hitting in a 5-4 comeback win, highlighted by back-to-back homeruns by Brandon Bush and Aaron Thomason.

Marshall County got some rest, shade, and air conditioning before taking to the diamond the next morning versus a tough Harris County, Georgia squad.

After falling behind, the Dusters got a game tying homerun by Brandon Hollingsworth and one inning later, Thomason thrilled the travelling Marshall County fans with an eighth inning, three-run walk off dinger for an 8-5 win, giving the Dusters a 2-1 pool play record.

"That was a couple of dramatic ballgames," Reese. "We played really well and got some clutch hitting and our pitching really hung in there."

If the Dusters could beat a Northern Fairfax, Virginia team with an identical 2-1 pool play record the next day, Marshall County would advance to the championship round consisting of the two teams with the best pool records in the American and National Division Brackets.

It all looked good for an extended Dusters' stay as they jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but the bottom dropped out late and they suffered a tough 8-6 elimination loss.

"We let that one get away," said Reese. "It was a pretty emotional ballgame, but in the end, I think we just ran out of pitching."

Reese commented about the overall experience for his ballclub, "It was great experience for the kids and overall I think we played real well and I am proud of the kids."

"I have to thank our sponsor, Mr. Bobby Walker," said Reese. "That family has always supported us and we really appreciate everything they did and have done for the program."