Tigers topple Columbia Central

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Marshall County first baseman Cody Vernon scoops up a groundball by Columbia's Hayden Stone in the top of the third inning before stepping on the bag for an out. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Marshall County Tigers (18-8) defeated Columbia Central for the first time in five years when they pulled out a hard fought 3-2 win over the Lions on Friday night at Joe George Field.

Having lost to Columbia 5-2 earlier in the season, MCHS held a 2-0 lead through the first five innings of play before the Lions (13-12) pushed across two runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 2-2.

The Tigers, however, kept their poise during crunch time and plated a run in the bottom of seventh inning thanks to a RBI single by senior centerfielder J.B. Reese to notch their sixth straight victory.

"I was looking for a fastball, but his velocity is pretty good so I just threw my hands at the ball like coach (Mike) Bailey told me too and got a hit," said Reese. "This is the first time we've beaten Columbia since I've been in high school so it feels pretty good."

Marshall County starting pitcher Aaron Thomason turned in his third straight quality performance, as he racked up 12 strikeouts in seven innings of work while limiting the Lions to two runs on four hits and three walks en route to earning the win.

"Thomason threw a great game. His curveball was really working tonight and had a lot of break," said MCHS coach Steve Reese. "We've beaten two teams that went to the state tournament last year in the last five days so that's a pretty good week in my book."

The Tigers, meanwhile, finished with eight hits and four walks against Columbia starting hurler Michael Marlin and reliever Colton Provey. Matt Sharp (1 RBI), Brandon Bush, and J.B. Reese (1 RBI) each had two hits to lead Marshall County offensively, while Cody Vernon and Aaron Hobbs (1 RBI) both doubled.

Provey suffered the loss on the mound after yielding one run over two and two-third innings on three hits. Heath Slaton went 2-for-2 with a walk to pace the Lions at the plate, while Dylan Myers and Matthew Markham each tripled with Myers driving in two runs.

After Columbia stranded runners on second and third in the top of the first inning, MCHS left the bases loaded in the bottom half of the frame.

The Tigers stranded another man in scoring position in the second inning, but finally broke through for two runs in the fourth to seize a 2-0 lead. Following a leadoff walk by Ryan Richardson, Hobbs plated Richardson with a RBI double to make it 1-0, before racing home on a RBI single by Sharp.

In the top of the fifth, the Lions had a chance to close the gap after Markham led off the frame with a triple, but he was thrown out at home on a squeeze play while Thomason notched two strikeouts in the inning to maintain Marshall County's two-run advantage.

Columbia finally cashed in on a scoring opportunity in the sixth and crossed home plate twice in the frame behind a pair of walks and a two-run triple by Myers to knot the game at 2-2.

MCHS left a runner at third in the bottom of the sixth, but put together another scoring threat in the seventh when Bush blasted a triple into the right centerfield gap with one out. J.B. Reese then drove in Bush by lacing a single into centerfield to give the Tigers the 3-2 victory.