Stealth spoils Marshall County's title run
The Marshall County 13U All-Stars run towards the state title was abruptly ended Monday night in Cookeville by the Franklin Stealth, who struck like a lightning bolt, turning a close game into a 14-2 blowout.
Marshall County manager Mike Bailey said after the contest, "I think that first game took a lot of energy out of us. We used a lot of our pitching to get here and I think those extra innings wore us out."
With Franklin leading 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning, the weather began to turn nasty and the players and fans took for cover as lightning darted through skies above Parkview Field.
After a 30-minute delay, Franklin came back full of electricity, sending 17 batters to the plate and scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the fourth to end Bailey's crew's undefeated weekend.
"I have coached many teams over the years, but this is one of the most talented teams we have ever had together," said Bailey. "Next year we will try to win the whole thing again; they are very disappointed right now because they fell short, but they have to keep their heads up because of the way they played this entire tournament."
Marshall County seemed to have the momentum from their big semifinal early in the ballgame, scoring on an RBI single by Trent Richardson in the top of the first inning.
Howard returned to the mound as the starter in the title game and set down the Stealth 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first.
Marshall County put runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the second after Luke Cunningham reached on an error and Jacob Jones followed with a double, but Stealth starter Sam Ertelt escaped on a grounder back to the mound.
In the bottom of the frame, Franklin scored an unearned run to knot the contest at 1.
Howard helped his own cause, leading off the third inning with a double before scampering to third base on a passed ball and scoring on a fielder's choice RBI off the bat of Richardson.
Franklin took the lead for good at 3-2 in the bottom of the frame on RBIs by Matt McKerrick and Joe O'Connell.
Ertelt set down the Marshall County stars 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth and before the bottom of the frame got underway, the umpires stopped the game due to several lightning strikes in the area.
After the stoppage, the Stealth stormed away with the game deciding 10-run inning to take a 14-2 lead.
Marshall County went down in order in the bottom of the fourth as the run-rule game was over.
"We knew we had a lot of talent and we knew we had a chance to get to the regional, but we knew it would not be easy," said Bailey. "As long as they keep loving the game of baseball good things like this will keep happening for them."