Dusters double up Magnet
The Marshall County Dusters (17-10) advanced to the championship game of the Tullahoma Classic by defeating the Murfreesboro Central Magnet Tigers 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Tullahoma High School in the semifinals.
Murfreesboro Central Magnet had defeated Marshall County 7-0 the previous day during pool play, but the Dusters turned the tables on the Tigers in Sunday's contest and built a 4-1 lead through the first four and a half innings of play before withstanding a MCM rally attempt to claim the victory.
Marshall County starting pitcher Hayden Bailey went the distance on the mound to earn the win and scattered eight hits and a walk in seven innings of work while recording six strikeouts.
The Dusters finished with a modest six hits against two Tiger pitchers, but drew six walks to go along with two hit batsmen. Chandler Harmon (1 RBI), Bailey (1 RBI), Ryan McDaniel (1 RBI), Bubba Houghton (1 RBI), Connor Bush, and Zack Kirby each tallied one hit for Marshall County.
"We beat a good ballclub to get to the championship game. Hayden pitched a good game and has gotten better this summer, which is important because he's going to play at the next level," said Dusters coach Mike Reese. "We got some timely hits and scored enough runs to win."
Murfreesboro Central Magnet starting hurler Alex Ropp suffered the loss and allowed four runs over six innings on five hits and five walks . Darek Sargent led the Tigers at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a double and a RBI, while Jacob Crume added two hits and a run scored.
Marshall County grabbed the momentum early and pushed across two runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Kirby drew a walk before Matt Sharp reached base on catcher's interference to put men on first and second with one out. Bailey then laced a RBI single into left centerfield to drive in Kirby while advancing to second on the play thanks to a Tiger error. After McDaniel was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Sharp scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Harmon.
Murfreesboro Central Magnet stranded three runners in scoring position in the first two innings before notching a run in the bottom of the third thanks to a leadoff single by McKenzie Jackson and a Sargent RBI double to narrow the gap to 2-1.
The Dusters stretched their lead to 3-1 in the top of the fourth when Harmon scored on a RBI single by Houghton after belting a leadoff double to deep centerfield.
In the top of the fifth, Marshall County tacked on another run to open up a 4-1 advantage. Kirby drew a walk and advanced to second on a Sharp sacrifice bunt before coming home on a two-out RBI single by McDaniel.
The Tigers cut the deficit to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by Ropp and still had runners on first and second with two outs, but Bailey struck out the next MCM batter to limit the damage.
Bailey then retired Murfreesboro Central Magnet in order in the sixth inning before working around a one-out single by Crume in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win for the Dusters.