Thunder rolls past Columbia

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Marshall County third baseman Landon Jones throws out Columbia's Andy Horne at first base in the top of the first inning. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Not much went wrong for the Marshall County Thunder on Friday the 13th, as they thumped Columbia 13-3 in six innings at Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Field in the first round of the 14-year old District Babe Ruth tournament.

The two teams were locked in a 3-3 tie through the first four and a half innings of play, before the Thunder cashed in on a slew of late game defensive miscues by Columbia and crossed home plate 10 times over the next two frames to claim the mercy rule shortened victory.

Aided by their late offensive surge, Marshall County finished with 10 hits and nine walks against four Columbia hurlers. Columbia also hurt their pitching staff's cause by committing five errors in the contest, which contributed to seven of the Thunder's 13 runs.

Boone Sweeney (2 RBI), starting pitcher Ethan Poteete (1 RBI), Stuart Warner (1 RBI), and Bryce Oliver each had two hits to spearhead Marshall County's offensive attack. Payton Hood also added a triple and 2 RBI for the Thunder, while Jesse Pruitt singled.

Thunder relief pitcher Landon Jones picked up the victory on the mound and allowed one unearned run over two innings on two hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts. Despite registering seven strikeouts in four innings of work, Poteete had to settle for the no decision after yielding two runs on three hits and a walk.

"I was pleased with our overall game. Our pitching and defense were both good. Ethan gave us four hard innings and got out of trouble a couple of times," said Marshall County coach Mike Mills. "This was an extremely important win because losing in the first round of a tournament can be a death blow."

Starting pitcher Savon Tears tallied two hits and a RBI to pace Columbia at the plate, while Jackson Scott, Paul Heard, and Adarius Armstrong had one hit apiece. Relief pitcher Drew Mohundro suffered the loss for Columbia and gave up six unearned runs over one and two-thirds innings on three hits and two walks.

Columbia grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a RBI fielder's choice by Jakob Stanfill, but the Thunder countered with three runs in the bottom half of the frame to seize a 3-1 advantage. Following walks by Limbaugh and Oliver, Limbaugh scored on a Columbia error to make it 1-1 while Poteete reached first base on the play. Oliver and Poteete then both advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch before Sweeney smacked a two-run single into right field to put Marshall County on top.

After notching a run in the top of the third with the help of a double by Heard, a balk, and a Thunder error to narrow the gap to 3-2, Columbia scored a run in the fifth inning on a Heard walk, a single by Tears, and another Marshall County error to knot the game at 3-3.

The wheels, however, came off for Columbia in the bottom of the fifth, as the Thunder crossed home plate six times in the frame behind a pair of singles from Oliver and Warner, a Tata Davis walk, four errors, a wild pitch, and a Hood two-run triple to forge a 9-3 lead.

Marshall County then brought the mercy rule into effect in the bottom of the sixth by pushing across four more runs on the strength of a leadoff double by Oliver, a Poteete RBI single, a RBI groundout by Warner, a wild pitch, and a bases loaded walk by Josh McKnight to cap their 13-3 triumph.