Columbia rallies past MCHS

Friday, March 16, 2012

On Tuesday, the Marshall County Tigers (1-2) had Class AAA power Columbia Central on the ropes, but were unable to deliver the knockout blow, as they suffered a 6-2 road loss to the Lions in six innings.

MCHS held a 2-1 lead through the first four innings of play, but Columbia (2-0) crossed home plate five times in the bottom of the fifth with the help of some defensive miscues by the Tigers before the game was eventually halted in the sixth due to lightning.

Marshall County outhit the Lions 6-5 and held a 6-1 advantage in walks, but Columbia was aided by three MCHS errors, which accounted for all five of their runs in the fifth inning. The Tigers also had two runners thrown out on the base paths that helped snuff out a pair of potential scoring threats.

"Counting our first two games of the season, we had played 18 innings of errorless baseball and then make three errors in one inning. It was definitely a winnable game for us. We just made some mistakes at the wrong time," said Marshall County coach Steve Reese.

MCHS starting pitcher Matt Sharp was the tough luck loser, allowing six runs, only one earned, over 4 2/3 innings to go along with three strikeouts. Morgan Reese then came on in relief of Sharp in the fifth and fanned two batters in one perfect inning of work.

Jesse Kilpatrick led the Tigers at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, while Aaron Thomason added a solo homerun. Morgan Reese, Brandon Bush, and Cody Vernon each tallied one hit for Marshall County as well.

Relief pitcher Michael Marlin picked up the win for the Lions, yielding a hit and two walks over two scoreless innings.

Starting pitcher Heath Slatton (2 RBI) and Hayden Stone (1 RBI) both had two hits and a run scored to pace Columbia offensively.

Columbia stranded a runner at third in the bottom of the first inning, before Thomason gave Marshall County a 1-0 lead in the top of the second by blasting a solo shot over the centerfield fence to lead off the frame.

The Tigers then opened up a 2-0 advantage in the third when Kilpatrick scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on an infield single and advancing to third on groundouts by J.B. Reese and Morgan Reese.

In the bottom of the third, the Lions plated a run on the strength of a leadoff walk by Spencer Holt, a William Pilkinton sacrifice bunt, and a two-out RBI single by Slatton to narrow the gap to 2-1.

Marshall County's Jesse Kilpatrick slides safely into home plate while scoring on a wild pitch in the top of the third inning against Columbia. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After failing to cash in on a couple of scoring chances over the next two innings, MCHS saw things come unraveled in the bottom of the fifth, as Columbia pushed across five unearned runs with the help of a throwing error, a booted ground ball, a dropped fly ball, a RBI double by Stone, a Slatton RBI single, and a RBI single by Cameron Bair to seize a 6-2 lead.

Marlin then worked around a leadoff walk to Dylan McKnight in the top of the sixth before the game was stopped with two outs in the bottom half of the inning.