Tigers storm past first-place Spring Hill

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Marshall County shortstop Wilson Limbaugh tags out Spring Hill's Blake Lovell on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the third inning. Photos by Louis Scheuchenzuber

The Marshall County Tigers kept themselves in the hunt for the top seed in the upcoming District 12-AA tournament by going on the road and defeating the first place Spring Hill Raiders 9-5 on Monday afternoon.

Spring Hill (12-10, 5-2 District) held a 4-2 lead through the first five innings of play, but the Tigers (14-5, 4-3 District) came roaring back in the top of the sixth and exploded for seven runs in the frame to seize a 9-4 advantage before taking home the victory.

'Must-win game'

With Monday's triumph, the Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak against the Raiders and moved within a game of Spring Hill in the District standings.

Marshall County's Trent Wiles rounds third base while scoring on a two-run double by Stuart Warner in the top of the fourth inning against Spring Hill.

"It was a must win game to stay in the race and the next game is even bigger because we have a chance to tie for first," said Marshall County coach Steve Reese.

Although the Tigers mustered only six hits in the contest against three Raider pitchers, they took advantage of four walks and three Spring Hill errors, which led to four of MCHS' nine runs. Senior designated hitter Jay Murphy spearheaded Marshall County's comeback by going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Starting pitcher Stuart Warner (2 RBI), Grayson Wiles (2 RBI), Connor Bush (1 RBI), and Chandler Harmon each tallied a hit for the Tigers as well.

"The seniors sucked it up and came through tonight. That's what you expect from them in those kind of moments," said Reese.

Full distance

Warner also went the distance on the mound to pick up his fourth win of the season and yielded 10 hits and no walks in seven innings of work.

David Andrew went 3-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored to pace the Raiders at the plate, while Brandon Hardison, Austin Dunston, and Josh Wilkinson each added a hit and a RBI. Despite recording eight strikeouts, Spring Hill starting pitcher Zach King suffered the loss after allowing six runs, four earned, over five plus innings on four hits and three walks.

Warner retired the Raiders in order in the first inning, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the second, as Spring Hill pushed across four runs in the frame on the strength of a Josh Frantz double, a RBI double by Dunston, an Andrews RBI single, a double by Conner Pierce, a Wilkinson RBI sacrifice bunt, and a RBI single by Hardison to grab a 4-0 lead.

Catching up

Marshall County came up empty in the third inning, but put a dent in the Raider's lead by notching two runs in the top of the fourth to slice the deficit to 4-2. After the Tigers loaded the bases with one out on a hit batsman, an error, and a walk by Wiles, Warner belted a two-run double to deep right field.

After having a runner tagged out at home on a botched squeeze play in the bottom of the fifth, Spring Hill saw the wheels fall off in the top of the sixth, as the Tigers crossed home plate seven times in the frame behind a leadoff single by Murphy, an error by Spring Hill centerfielder Darian Prewett, a Wiles two-run single, two walks, a RBI fielder's choice by Dunn Crowder, a Bubba Houghton sacrifice fly, a RBI single by Bush, and a Murphy two-run single to claim a 9-4 advantage.

The Raiders plated a run in the bottom of the sixth with the help of two MCHS errors to narrow the gap to 9-5, but Warner worked around a hit batsman and an infield single by Prewett in the seventh inning to close out the win for the Tigers.