Columbia rallies past Dusters

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Marshall County left fielder Dylan McKnight catches a fly ball by Columbia's Ryne Baxter in the bottom of the second inning. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After falling 7-2 to Ensworth the previous day, the Marshall County Dusters fell to 0-2 in pool play of the Columbia/Forrest Classic when they lost 6-5 to the Columbia Cubs on Friday afternoon.

The Dusters (13-4-1) held a 5-3 lead through the first four innings of play, but the Cubs tallied a run in each of the next two innings to knot the game at 5-5 before pulling out the victory in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out RBI single by William Pilkinton.

"We couldn't hold the lead and made some mistakes that you don't want to make at this time of the year," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "We had some younger kids in at the end of the game, but they'll learn from this and it will help us next year. We had a chance to break the game open a couple of times, but didn't get enough big hits."

Bolstered by their late offensive surge, Columbia out hit the Dusters 11-9 overall and finished with a 6-2 edge in walks.

Starting hurler Matt Markham led the Cubs offensive attack by going 3-for-3 with a walk and a double, while catcher Cameron Bair went 2-for-4 with a homerun and 3 RBI.

Marshall County relief pitcher Ryan McDaniel suffered the loss on the mound, yielding two runs over two innings on six hits. Duster starting hurler Aaron Thomason had to settle for the no decision after giving up four runs in four and two-thirds innings of work on five hits and six walks to go along with six strikeouts.

Brandon Bush paced Marshall County at the plate by going 3-for-3 with a double and 1 RBI, while Matt Sharp (2 RBI), J.B. Reese (1 RBI), Aaron Hobbs (1 RBI), Bubba Houghton, McDaniel, and Ryan Richardson each had one hit.

Columbia reliever Ryne Baxter pitched three scoreless innings to pick up the win and allowed two hits and a walk during that span.

The Dusters got off to a promising start and pushed across three runs in the top of the first inning to grab a 3-0 lead. After drawing a leadoff walk, Sharp advanced to second on a groundout by Thomason prior to coming home on a Bush RBI single. J.B. Reese then plated courtesy runner Blake Darnell with a RBI double before advancing to third on a Columbia error and scoring on a RBI infield single by Hobbs.

In the bottom of the first, the Cubs plated a run with the help of a leadoff double by Markham and a Bair RBI single to trim the deficit to 3-1.

Columbia tied the contest at 3-3 in the third inning when Bair cranked a two-run homer over the right field fence after Markham drew a leadoff walk.

Marshall County quickly counter punched and crossed home plate twice in the top of the fourth on the strength of an error, a single by Richardson, a Zack Kirby sacrifice bunt, and a two-run single by Matt Sharp to seize a 5-3 advantage.

The Cubs then narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth on a bases loaded walk by Dylan Horne, before tying the game at 5-5 in the sixth inning thanks to a Hayden Holt RBI single.

After Marshall County went down in order in the top of the seventh, Alex Webb doubled with one out in the bottom half of the frame to get things started for Columbia. Hunter Logue then reached base on an infield single and stole second before Pilkinton plated Webb by lacing a RBI single into leftfield.