Tigers hold off Spartans
The Marshall County Tigers (24-9) advanced to the District 12-AA championship game for the second straight year by defeating the Summit Spartans 4-2 at home on Monday afternoon in the finals of their four team pool.
Having won the first three meetings against Summit (12-16) this season, the Tigers got off to a strong start and held a 4-0 lead through the first three innings of play before staving off a couple of Spartan rally attempts over the final four frames.
MCHS starting pitcher Morgan Reese went the distance on the mound for the Tigers and limited Summit to just four hits and a walk in seven innings of work while registering six strikeouts en route to earning the victory. Tiger catcher Brandon Bush also aided Reese's cause by throwing out two Spartan runners on stolen base attempts.
Marshall County, meanwhile, finished with eight hits and three walks against Summit starting hurler Jesse Box to go along with three hit batsman. Dylan McKnight and Aaron Hobbs both tallied two hits, 1 RBI, and a run scored to lead the Tigers at the plate. Matt Sharp, Bush, Aaron Thomason, and Aaron Medley each had one hit for MCHS as well with Thomason driving in one run.
Jordan Kelley (1 RBI) doubled to account for the Spartans lone extra base hit of the game, while Dale Burdick, Ben Mobley, and Cody Campbell (1 RBI) all singled.
The Tigers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when McKnight raced home on a sacrifice fly by Reese after roping a one-out triple into the left centerfield gap.
Marshall County stretched their lead to 3-0 in the second by pushing across two runs in the frame on four straight two-out hits. After lacing a double down the left field line, Medley scored on a Hobbs RBI single to make it 2-0. Hobbs then advanced to second base on a single by Sharp before coming home on a McKnight RBI single.
In the third inning, the Tigers tacked on another run to open up a 4-0 advantage. Following a leadoff walk by Bush, Thomason plated courtesy runner Jesse Kilpatrick by lacing a RBI triple into the right centerfield gap.
The Spartans trimmed the deficit to 4-1 in the top of the fourth when Burdick scored on a RBI double by Kelley after drawing a two-out walk.
MCHS then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth before Summit tallied another run in the top of the fifth with the help of a two-out single by Mobley, a Marshall County error, and a Campbell RBI single to narrow the gap to 4-2.
The Spartans, though, would get no closer, as Reese retired Summit in order in each of the next two innings to preserve the Tiger victory.