Marshall County blanks Giles County
The Marshall County All-Stars advanced to the championship round of the 15-year old Babe Ruth District tournament by defeating Giles County 9-0 in the loser's bracket finals on Monday night in Columbia.
Thanks to Monday's triumph, Marshall County also clinched a spot in the upcoming Babe Ruth State tournament, which will be held in Lebanon this weekend.
Giles County was coming off a dramatic 7-6 win over tournament host Columbia earlier in the evening, but could get nothing going offensively against Marshall County starting pitcher Blake Leonard and reliever Curt Taylor. Leonard racked up seven strikeouts and allowed just two hits and two walks in five scoreless innings of work to earn the victory before Taylor came in and yielded one hit and one walk over the final two frames while fanning three Giles County batters.
"They both looked absolutely great on the hill. Blake got out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning and that was huge for him. I was pleased with our defense too. We just have to make the routine plays and we did that tonight," said Marshall County coach Bradley Maddox. "It was big for us to get this win and it's always nice to beat Giles County."
Marshall County finished with a modest six hits against Giles County starting pitcher Scott Shellhorse, but took advantage of Shellhorse's wildness and drew four walks to along with three hit batsman. Giles County also hurt Shellhorse's cause by committing four errors, which contributed to six of Marshall County's nine runs.
Jody Sullivan did the most damage at the plate for Marshall County, as he went 2-for-2 with a walk, 2 RBI, and a run scored. Leonard tallied two hits as well, while Taylor and first baseman Cameron Isley each had a hit and a RBI.
Leonard worked around an error in the top of the first inning before Marshall County plated two runs in the bottom of the second to claim a 2-0 lead. Following a leadoff single by Leonard, courtesy runner Connor Mealer advanced to second on a passed ball prior to scoring on a Giles County throwing error while Chase Hensley reached first base on the play. After Isley drew a walk, Hensley advanced to third on a passed ball before coming home on a RBI single by Sullivan.
Giles County had a golden opportunity to cut into the deficit in the top of the third after loading the bases with the help of two walks and a Marshall County error. Leonard, however, bore down and retired the next three Giles County batters on a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
Marshall County then gave Leonard some more breathing room in the bottom of the third by pushing across three runs in the frame on a Taylor RBI infield single, a bases loaded walk by Isley, and a Sullivan RBI single to open up a 5-0 advantage.
Giles County then left a runner in scoring position in each of the next three innings before Marshall County crossed home plate four times in the bottom of the sixth with the aid of a single by Isley, three errors, and a wild pitch to forge a 9-0 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Giles County put a runner on second with no outs thanks to a leadoff single and a wild pitch, but Taylor retired the next two hitters on a groundout and a strikeout before Isley snared a line drive by Lucas Harrison to preserve the shutout.