One year later, Tigers get revenge
Although they had to wait an entire year, the Marshall County Tigers (23-7) paid back Montgomery Central on Monday night when they went on the road and defeated the Indians 4-2 in the first round of the Region 6-AA tournament to knock the District 11-AA champs out of the playoffs.
After bouncing the Tigers from the playoffs last year in the first round of the Region tourney, Montgomery Central (22-15) battled Marshall County to a 2-2 tie through the first six innings of Monday's contest.
The Tigers, however, would have the last laugh this time around, as they tallied two runs in the top of the seventh inning to seize a 4-2 lead before Marshall County starting pitcher Matt Sharp escaped a bases loaded jam in the bottom half of the frame to close the book on the Indians' season.
Thanks to Monday's win, the Tigers advanced to the Region 6-AA championship game and earned a spot in the Sectional round of the playoffs.
Having pitched two complete games in the District 12-AA tournament already, Sharp once again proved to be a workhorse for the Tigers on the mound, as he tossed a four-hitter while recording seven strikeouts and issuing three walks en route to earning his ninth victory of the season.
Marshall County, meanwhile, struggled at the plate for the second straight game and mustered only five hits and four walks against Montgomery starting hurler Ben Drudy and reliever Michael Johansen.
Leadoff hitter Aaron Hobbs did a good job of setting the table for the Tigers' offense and went 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored. Sharp (1 RBI), Hayden Bailey (1 RBI), and Ryan Richardson each notched a hit for Marshall County as well.
Drudy suffered the loss after allowing three runs in seven innings of work on five hits and three walks. Johansen came in and walked the lone batter he faced in the top of the seventh inning before Drudy returned to the mound.
Drudy (1 RBI), centerfielder Christopher Patterson, Brandon Hamilton, and Drew Sheppard had one hit apiece for the Indians.
Marshall County wasted little time getting on the board and pushed across a run in the top of the first inning to grab a 1-0 lead. After singling to lead off the inning, Hobbs advanced to second on a Sharp sacrifice bunt before scoring on a two-out RBI single by Bailey.
The Tigers then stretched their lead to 2-0 in the top of the third when Hobbs raced home on a sacrifice fly by Dylan McKnight after singling and advancing to third on a Montgomery Central error and a fly out by Sharp.
In the bottom of the third, the Indians tied the game at 2-2 by plating two runs in the frame with the help of two Marshall County errors, a Sheppard single, a sacrifice bunt by Jesse Beck, and a Drudy RBI single.
The Tigers then stranded a runner at second in the top of the fifth, but scratched out two runs in the seventh inning to take a 4-2 lead. Following a leadoff walk by Zack Kirby, courtesy runner Connor Bush advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bubba Houghton before Hobbs drew a walk. Sharp then laced a two-out RBI single into centerfield to drive in Bush while Hobbs also scored on the play when Patterson allowed the ball to roll past him.
Montgomery Central tried to mount a comeback in the bottom half of the frame and loaded bases with two outs thanks three walks, but Sharp retired Drudy on an infield popup to clinch the win for Marshall County.