Tigers sink Spring Hill

Friday, April 20, 2012
Marshall County's Brandon Bush went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI to help lead the Tigers to a 5-1 win over Spring Hill on Monday. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Marshall County Tigers got back into the race for the District 12-AA regular season title by defeating first place Spring Hill 5-1 at home on Monday night to move within one game of the Raiders in the league standings.

Spring Hill (18-4, 10-1 District) held a tenuous 1-0 lead through the first three and a half innings of play, but the Tigers tallied two runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull ahead 2-1. Marshall County (15-8, 9-2 District) then crossed home plate three times over the next two frames to open up a four-run advantage before quelling a Raider rally attempt in the top of the seventh.

Despite failing to reach base the first three innings, the Tigers pounded out 10 hits overall against two Spring Hill pitchers thanks to their late offensive surge.

Marshall County shortstop Morgan Reese throws out Spring Hill's Cody Kennedy at first base in the top of the second inning.

Starting pitcher Matt Sharp, Dylan McKnight, Brandon Bush, Aaron Thomason, and Aaron Hobbs recorded two hits apiece for MCHS with Bush and Thomason both driving in two runs while Hobbs notched 1 RBI.

"This was a big win. We've got to get the sweep though if we want to be in first place," said Marshall County coach Steve Reese. "They were throwing a lot of first pitch curveballs early in the game, but the guys made an adjustment at the plate."

Sharp also turned in a strong performance on the mound to earn his fifth win of the year, as he limited the Raiders to one run over six plus innings on six hits and a walk to go along with four strikeouts. Morgan Reese then came on in relief of Sharp in the top of the seventh inning and struck out all three Spring Hill batters he faced.

Raider starting hurler Heath Petty suffered the loss, yielding five runs on nine hits in five plus innings of work. Luke Bigler, Cole Barksdale, Jake Usher, Taylor Ellis, Petty, and J.T. Farmer all registered one hit for Spring Hill with Petty driving in one run.

Sharp worked around a pair of singles by Usher and Ellis in the top of the first inning, before the Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Bigler scored on a RBI single by Petty after roping a two-out triple into the right centerfield gap.

Spring Hill's lead would be short lived, as the Tigers pushed across two runs in the bottom half of the fourth to seize a 2-1 advantage. Following consecutive singles by Sharp and McKnight, courtesy runner Zack Kirby was erased on the base paths on a fielder's choice by Morgan Reese. Bush then legged out an infield single to load the bases with one out before Thomason plated McKnight and Morgan Reese by lacing an RBI single into right field.

In the fifth, the Raiders left a man at third in the top of the inning before MCHS stretched their lead to 4-1 in the bottom half of the frame on a two-run single by Bush.

Spring Hill put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the sixth behind a Barksdale single and a Ellis walk, but Sharp induced Bigler to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to extinguish the Raider threat.

The Tigers then tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Thomason scored on a RBI double by Hobbs after singling and advancing to second on Aaron Medley groundout.

Spring Hill put runners on first and third with no outs in the top of the seventh thanks to two Marshall County errors, but Morgan Reese fanned the next three Raider batters to seal the Tigers' 5-1 victory.