Tigers shutout Summit to claim District title
On Thursday night, the Marshall County Tigers captured their first regular season District championship in four years when they defeated Summit 3-0 on the road to complete the season sweep of the Spartans.
Although Marshall County has to share the regular season title with Spring Hill, the Tigers will be the top seed in the District 12-AA tournament thanks to their two-game sweep of the Raiders the previous week.
"Winning the District now is a lot harder than it used to be because there are a lot of good players in the District and some pretty good coaches. The boys have worked extremely hard to get where they are," said MCHS coach Steve Reese. "Since we locked up the number one seed, all of our District tournament games will be in Lewisburg so hopefully the fans will come out and support us like they always have."
Tiger starting pitcher Dylan McKnight turned in a dominant performance on the mound and ran his record to 6-1 on the year by limiting Summit (10-14, 8-8 District) to just two hits in seven scoreless innings of work while notching eight strikeouts and issuing no walks.
Marshall County (20-8, 14-2 District) finished with seven hits and nine walks against two Summit hurlers, but missed several opportunities to break the game open, as they went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 13 men on base overall.
Aaron Medley led the Tigers at the plate by going 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run scored. Morgan Reese and Cody Vernon each added a double for MCHS as well with Vernon scoring a run, while McKnight and second baseman Aaron Thomason both singled.
Dale Burdick and Jordan Kelly tripled and doubled respectively to account for the Spartans' two hits. Summit starting pitcher Karlton Turcois lasted just two innings and allowed two runs on three hits and four walks en route to suffering the loss. Kelley then came on in relief of Turcois in the top of the third and pitched the final five innings.
Marshall County grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Matt Sharp scored on a 5-3 double play after he and Morgan Reese sandwiched walks around a McKnight single to load the bases with no outs.
McKnight then worked around a two-out double by Kelly in the bottom of the first before the Tigers tallied another run in the second inning to open up a 2-0 advantage. After MCHS loaded the bases with one out thanks to a Vernon double, a single by Medley, and a Aaron Hobbs walk, Sharp plated Vernon with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Marshall County then stranded a runner at second in the top of the third, but pushed across a run in the fourth to stretch their lead to 3-0. Following a leadoff single by Medley, Hobbs and McKnight both drew walks to load the bases with one out, before Kelley issued another free pass to Brandon Bush to bring home Medley.
Burdick nearly broke up McKnight's shutout bid in the bottom of the sixth, but was thrown out at home plate by Thomason when he tried to stretch a triple into an inside the park homerun.
McKnight then retired Summit in order in the seventh inning to sew up the Tigers' ninth straight win.