Nichirin upends Marshall Medical Center

Friday, May 25, 2012
Nichirin's Hunter Talley slides safely into third while advancing two bases on a Marshall Medical Center throwing error in the bottom of the fourth inning. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Nichirin started the 2012 Babe Ruth season in fine fashion when they defeated Marshall Medical Center 3-2 in nine innings on Wednesday night at Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Field.

After the game was postponed in the top of the second inning on Monday due to heavy showers, the two teams restarted the contest at the same point on Wednesday and were locked in a 2-2 tie at the end of the eighth frame.

Nichirin finally broke the stalemate in the bottom of the ninth when Cameron Isley drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the winning run.

Marshall Medical Center second baseman Chase Hensley throws out Nichirin's Jay Howard at first base to complete a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Although he had to settle for a no decision, Nichirin starting pitcher David Looney turned in a strong performance on the mound, as he racked up 11 strikeouts over seven innings while allowing two unearned runs on three hits and three walks. Reliever Stuart Warner picked up the win for Nichirin after notching four strikeouts and yielding just one hit in two scoreless innings of work.

"This win was absolutely huge for us. It's always important to win your first game, but to do it against an established team like Marshall Medical Center is big," said Nichirin coach Bradley Maddox. "Our pitchers looked great on the mound. David came in and threw strikes and Stuart pitched well too. I couldn't have asked for a better outing from them."

Lane Whitesell tallied a double and 2 RBI to pace Marshall Medical Center offensively, while starting hurler Ethan Poteete, relief pitcher Zach Gordon, and Payton Hood all singled.

Nichirin shortstop Jay Howard tags out Marshall Medical Center's Ethan Poteete after Poteete got caught in a rundown between first and second base in the top of the fifth inning.

"Nichirin is a pretty solid team, but we didn't get it done at the plate," said MMC coach Mike Mills. "We played good defense, but didn't produce at the plate when we had too."

Nichirin mustered only three hits against Poteete and Gordon, but were aided by five walks and five hit batsmen.

Hunter Bradford doubled and scored a run to account for Nichirin's lone extra base hit of the game, while Hunter Talley and Warner both singled.

Gordon suffered the loss for Marshall Medical Center after giving up one run over three and one-third innings on two hits and two walks.

Nichirin got on the board first when Talley scored on a Looney RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth inning to make 1-0 after being hit by a pitch and advancing to third on an errant pickoff throw.

Marshall Medical Center mounted an immediate response and pushed across two runs in the top of the fifth inning to grab a 2-1 lead. After drawing a walk, Connor Bush advanced to second on a Nichirin error while Gordon reached first base on the play. Whitesell then plated both runners by lacing a two-run double into the left field.

Nichirin quickly counterpunched and tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Conner Mealer raced home on a RBI groundout by Josh McKnight after drawing a one-out walk, stealing second, and advancing to third on a wild pitch.

Neither team was able to cross home plate over the next three innings, before Nichirin loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a leadoff double by Bradford and two hit batsmen. Bradford then trotted home when Isley drew a five-pitch walk to give Nichirin the 3-2 victory.