Bush's big hit lifts Tigers
On Tuesday night, the Marshall County Tigers (25-9) captured their first District tournament title in four years when they beat three-time defending champ Spring Hill 3-2 at home thanks to some late game heroics from senior catcher Brandon Bush.
Although MCHS had swept the season series against the Raiders (28-7), the two teams were locked in a 2-2 tie through the first six and a half innings of play. Bush, though, broke the stalemate in the bottom of the seventh inning by driving in Aaron Hobbs with a two-out RBI double to give the Tigers the District 12-AA crown.
"Words can hardly describe how excited I was when I got the hit. It feels awesome," said Bush. "Winning the District means everything to me. It's been our goal every year and we finally did it."
With Tuesday's win, Marshall County will host the District 11-AA runner-up in the first round of the upcoming Region 6-AA tournament on Monday.
"Winning your first District title as a head coach feels tremendous," said third-year MCHS coach Steve Reese. "I've been a part of a lot of District titles here as an assistant to coach (Joe) George, but winning it as a head coach feels incredible. I just want give credit to my assistant coaches and the players for all the hard work they've put in to make this possible."
Tiger starting pitcher Dylan McKnight turned in a gutsy performance on the mound and ran his record to 8-1 on the year, as he limited the Raiders to four hits and a walk over seven innings while notching seven strikeouts.
Marshall County finished with nine hits and a walk against Spring Hill starting hurler Dylan Stewart and reliever Luke Bigler. Bush (1 RBI), Morgan Reese (1 RBI), and Matt Sharp each had two hits to lead the Tigers offensively, while McKnight, Aaron Thomason, and Hobbs had one hit apiece.
Second baseman J.T. Farmer, Jake Usher (2 RBI), Taylor Ellis, and Dathan Prewett each notched one hit for the Raiders.
Marshall County got off to a promising start and pushed across a run in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 1-0 lead. After leading off the inning with a single, Sharp advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by McKnight before racing home on a Morgan Reese RBI single.
The Raiders left two runners on base in the top of the second, but broke through for a couple of runs in the third inning to pull ahead 2-1. Following a leadoff walk by Nathan Anderson, Bigler reached base on a sacrifice bunt when the Tigers unsuccessfully tried to throw out Anderson at second. Anderson and Bigler both moved up 90 feet on a Farmer sacrifice bunt before Usher stroked a two-run single into centerfield.
Marshall County tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth when courtesy runner Jesse Kilpatrick scored on a sacrifice fly by J.B. Reese after Bush blasted a triple into the left centerfield gap to lead off the frame.
The Tigers then left the bases loaded in the fifth inning before McKnight retired Spring Hill in order in each of the next two innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, MCHS caught a break when Farmer booted a groundball by Hobbs to start the inning. Bigler retired the next two Marshall County batters on a fly out and a strikeout, but Morgan Reese smacked a single into centerfield to put runners on first and second. Bush then plated Hobbs by ripping a double down the left field line to set off a jubilant celebration by the Tiger dugout.