Tigers take on Columbia in scrimmage

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Marshall County shortstop Aaron Hobbs throws out a Columbia base runner at first base in the top of the second inning. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

With their season opener against Blackman fast approaching, the Marshall County Tigers baseball team tuned up for the 2012 campaign by taking on the Columbia Central Lions in a 10-inning scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Joe George Field.

After finishing second in the Class AAA State tournament last year, Columbia displayed impressive pitching depth on Saturday, as they defeated the Tigers 7-0 while six Lion hurlers limited MCHS to only three hits and four walks.

Shortstop Morgan Reese tripled to account for Marshall County's lone extra base hit of the contest. Aaron Hobbs and Jay Murphy both singled for the Tigers as well.

Marshall County third baseman Ryan McDaniel throws out a Columbia base runner at first base in the top of the third inning.

Hayden Holt and Heath Slatton both threw three scoreless innings for the Lions while Colton Provey, Michael Marlin, Hayden Stone, and Dylan Myers pitched one inning apiece.

Columbia, meanwhile, banged out 15 hits and drew two walks against eight MCHS hurlers. Slaton tallied three hits and a RBI to lead the Lions at the plate, while Stone, Matt Markham, and Hayden Holt each had two hits with Stone and Holt driving in two and one run respectively. Dylan Myers added a double and a RBI for Columbia.

Reliever Aaron Thomason was the top performer out of Marshall County's bullpen and threw two perfect innings, while, Zack Gordon, Dylan McKnight, Cody Vernon each threw one scoreless inning. Matt Sharp started the game on the mound for the Tigers and yielded one run in two innings of work. Lane Whitesell, Aaron Medely, and Ryan McDaniel all pitched one inning apiece as well and gave up three, two, and one run respectively.

Marshall County second baseman Aaron Thomason tags out Columbia's Matt Markham during a stolen base attempt in the top of the second inning.

"I wish we would have swung the bat a little better. We took too many pretty strikes and need to be more aggressive at the plate," said Marshall County coach Steve Reese. "I think by the time we get to the middle of the season we'll be a pretty good team. Our frontline pitchers all threw well and we did a good job fielding the ball today."

Columbia took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Stone scored on a 4-3 double play after leading off the frame with a bloop double and advancing to third on a Slatton single.

After MCHS left a runner at second in the bottom of the first, the Lions failed to score over the next four innings before crossing home plate three times in the top of the sixth thanks to a two-run triple by Stone and a Slatton RBI single to open up a 4-0 advantage.

Marshall County pitcher Matt Sharp fires a strike to homeplate in the top of the first inning against Columbia.

Columbia continued to pad their lead in the seventh and pushed across two runs in the inning thanks to a leadoff single and a stolen base by Markham, a Holt RBI single, two walks, and wild pitch to make it 6-0.

Slatton then worked around a Jesse Kilpatrick leadoff walk and an error in the bottom of the seventh before the Lions stretched their lead to 7-0 in the eighth on a RBI double by Myers.

The Tigers then failed to capitalize on a two-out triple by Reese in the bottom of the ninth prior to leaving the bases loaded in the tenth.