Tigers double up Fairview
The Marshall County Tigers (22-9) guaranteed themselves a spot in the Region 6-AA tourney by defeating the eighth seeded Fairview Yellow Jackets 10-5 at home on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the District 12-AA tourney.
Needing just one win in the District tournament to qualify for the Region, the Tigers had little trouble disposing of Fairview and held a 10-1 lead through the first six innings of play before coasting to the five-run victory.
After scoring a total of 17 runs in the two regular season meetings between the two teams, Marshall County once again had success against the Yellow Jackets' pitching staff and pounded out 13 hits against Fairview starting hurler Avery Laughlin to go along with three walks.
The Tigers got contributions throughout their lineup, as Morgan Reese (3 RBI), Brandon Bush (1 RBI), Aaron Thomason (2 RBI), Aaron Medley (1 RBI), and Aaron Hobbs tallied two hits apiece, while starting pitcher Matt Sharp, Dylan McKnight (1 RBI), and J.B. Reese (1 RBI) each had one hit.
The Yellow Jackets finished with eight hits and three walks against three MCHS hurlers. Cody Collins went 3-for-4 with a triple, 1 RBI, and a run scored to pace Fairview at the plate, while Brodie Brock added a solo homerun.
Sharp picked up the victory on the mound for Marshall County, allowing just one run over four and one-third innings on three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts. Thomason also notched three strikeouts in an inning and two-thirds of scoreless work while yielding one hit and one walk.
"The first game of the tournament is always nerve racking, but we got the jitters out early. We hit the ball on the button and hit some pretty good shots tonight," said MCHS coach Steve Reese. "Sharp and Thomason both pitched well and we played pretty good defense until the last inning."
Sharp worked around a two-out triple by Collins in the top of the first inning before the Tigers pushed across two runs in the bottom half of the frame to grab an early 2-0 lead. After Sharp and Bush sandwiched infield singles around a McKnight walk to load the base with one out, Thomason plated Sharp and McKnight by lacing a two-run single into leftfield.
Marshall County opened up a 4-1 advantage in the second inning thanks to a Morgan Reese two-run single after loading the bases on a double by Medley and a pair of walks from Hobbs and McKnight.
Brock hit a solo shot over the left field fence in the top of the third to trim the deficit to 4-1, but MCHS tallied two more runs in the bottom of the fourth with the help of a Hobbs double, a RBI single by McKnight, a Yellow Jacket error, and a Morgan Reese sacrifice fly to stretch their lead to 6-1.
The Tigers then tallied a run in the fifth behind a double by Thomason and a Medley RBI single to make it 7-1, before tacking on three more runs in the sixth on the strength of a single by Morgan Reese, a Bush RBI triple, a RBI single by J.B. Reese, and two Fairview errors to forge a 10-1 advantage.
In the top of the seventh, the Yellow Jackets salvaged some pride by scoring four runs in the frame with the aid of three MCHS errors, a single by Jeremiah Dunn, a Joe Guliza RBI triple, and a pair of RBI singles by Collins and Jesse Blackburn for the 10-5 final.