Dusters drub Oakland
Coming off a 1-1 tie against tournament host Columbia earlier in the day, the Marshall County Dusters notched their second victory in the Southern Athletic Fields Invitational by defeating the Oakland Patriots 9-2 in six innings on Friday afternoon to finish pool play with a 2-1-1 record.
Having left a slew of runners on base in each of the previous two contests, the Dusters finally cashed in on their scoring opportunities and pounded out 11 hits against two Oakland pitchers.
Brandon Bush (1 RBI) and Aaron Thomason each tallied three hits and scored three runs to lead Marshall County's offensive attack. Starting pitcher Matt Sharp (2 RBI) and Jesse Kilpatrick (1 RBI) both tallied two hits for the Dusters as well, while J.B. Reese (1 RBI) had one hit.
Sharp also turned in a solid effort on the mound and picked up the victory after yielding two runs, only one earned, on three hits over five innings to go along with six strikeouts. Morgan Reese then came on in relief of Sharp and pitched a perfect sixth inning.
"We hit the ball a lot better this game and got good pitching once again. We also played a little bit better defensively too," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese.
Devin Cairo doubled and scored a run to account for the Patriots lone extra base hit of the game, while Ryan Givens and Sloan Reed both singled.
The Dusters wasted no time getting on the board and pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead. After Thomason and Bush both singled to put runners on first and second with two outs, J.B. Reese drove in Thomason with a RBI single while Bush also scored on the play thanks to an error by Oakland's left fielder.
Marshall County left runners on the corners in the second inning, but plated two more runs in the third with the help of a Thomason ground rule double, a walk by Bush, and two Patriot errors to open up a 4-0 advantage.
In the top of the fifth, Oakland narrowed the gap to 4-2 by tallying two runs in the frame thanks to Cairo double, an infield single by Reed, a RBI fielder's choice by Will Hawks, a Duster error, and a wild pitch.
Marshall County quickly counterpunched and crossed home plate four times in the bottom of the fifth on the strength of a Bush infield single, two walks, a RBI double by Kilpatrick, a passed ball, a hit batsman, and a two-run single by Sharp to forge an 8-2 lead.
The Dusters then brought the mercy rule into effect in the sixth inning when Thomason scored on a RBI single by Bush to cap Marshall County's 9-2 triumph after singling and stealing second.