Tigers outgun Rockets

Friday, April 5, 2013

After sweeping a doubleheader against East Hickman the previous evening, the Marshall County Tigers (8-4) extended their current winning streak to three games on Wednesday night when they defeated local rival Forrest 14-10 in Chapel Hill.

The two teams were locked in a 7-7 tie through the first six innings of play, but the Tigers broke the game open by scoring seven runs in the top of the seventh inning with the help of several defensive miscues by the Rockets to seize a 14-7 lead.

Marshall County then had to withstand a Forrest rally attempt in the bottom of the seventh before claiming their 10th straight victory over FHS.

Marshall County's Aaron Hobbs rounds third while scoring on a two-run triple by Matt Sharp in the top of the first inning against Forrest. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Explosive offense

Having scored double digit runs in six of their previous eight games, the Tigers continued their recent offensive tear, as they pounded out 13 hits and drew eight walks against four Rocket pitchers. Forrest also made their pitching staff's job much harder by committing nine errors in the contest.

Senior Ryan McDaniel had a big night at the plate for MCHS and went 4-of-5 with a triple and 3 RBI. Ryan Richardson also tallied three hits and 2 RBI, while Aaron Hobbs added two hits and 2 RBI. Starting pitcher Matt Sharp (3 RBI), Dylan McKnight (2 RBI), Hayden Bailey (1 RBI), and Zack Kirby each had one hit for the Tigers as well.

MCHS relief pitcher Jacob Graves picked up the win on the mound for the Tigers, allowing three runs in five innings of work on six hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts.

Fewer mistakes

"We got up early and then fell behind, but we hung in there. The bottom line is that we just made less mistakes than them and took advantage of their seventh inning breakdown," said Marshall County coach Steve Reese. "I thought Jacob did a good job tonight. I was tickled that he pitched so well since he's been out for a while. He got tired at the end, but he pitched through it."

Forrest's Zach Horvath slides safely into home plate while scoring on a passed ball in the bottom of the first inning against Marshall County.

The Rockets finished with 10 hits and six walks in the contest, but were also aided by five Tiger errors. Relief pitcher Zach Horvath led Forrest's offense with three hits and 3 RBI, while Austin Harber (2 RBI) and Jacob Daughrity (1 RBI) both had two hits. Caleb Keller, Tanner Garvin, and Boone Sweeny had one hit apiece for Forrest as well.

Horvath suffered the loss on the mound after giving up three runs, only one earned, over two innings on three hits and a walk.

'Proud of fight'

"I was real proud of the fight that we showed tonight. I wouldn't expect anything less of the guys," said FHS coach Chris Parker. "I thought even in our last at bat we had a chance to win the game. The guys have come a long way this season."

The Tigers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by crossing home plate three times in the top of the first inning thanks to a Hobbs walk, a hit batsman, a two-run triple by Sharp, and a McDaniel RBI single.

Forrest notched two runs in the bottom of the first inning with the help of a leadoff single by Horvath, an MCHS error, and a RBI single by Harber to cut the deficit to 3-2, but Marshall County pushed across three more runs in the top of the second on a bases loaded walk by McKnight, a Sharp sacrifice fly, and a RBI single by Bailey to open up a 6-2 advantage.

The Rockets then came storming back in the bottom of the second and plated five runs in the frame on the strength of three walks, a Harbor sacrifice fly, two Marshall County errors, and a pair of RBI singles by Horvath and Daughrity to pull ahead 7-6.

In the top of the third, the Tigers scratched out a run to tie the game at 7-7. Following a leadoff single by Richardson, courtesy runner Wilson Limbaugh advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kirby before racing home on a Hobbs RBI single.

Both teams failed to convert on multiple scoring opportunities over the next three innings, before the floodgates opened up in the top of the seventh, as MCHS crossed home plate seven times in the frame with the aid of five Forrest errors, a RBI triple by Hobbs, a McKnight RBI single, a two-run double by McDaniel, and a Richardson two-run single to forge a 14-7 lead.

The Rockets cut the deficit to 14-10 in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run single by Horvath and a Brewer RBI groundout and still had runners on second and third with two outs, but Graves retired Harber on an infield pop up to secure the win for Marshall County.