District-leading Raiders wipe out Tiger lead in win
On Wednesday night, the Marshall County Tigers missed a chance to move into a tie for the top spot in the District 12-AA standings when they lost 17-6 in six innings to the first place Spring Hill Raiders at home.
The Tigers (14-6, 4-4 District) held a 3-1 lead through the first four innings of play, but fell apart down the stretch, as the Raiders (13-10, 6-2 District) outscored MCHS 16-3 over the next two frames to salvage a split in the season series.
Spring Hill pounded out 16 hits against five Tiger pitchers, but also benefitted from nine walks, two hit batsmen, and three Marshall County errors.
"Our pitchers just couldn't find the strike zone and when we did they put the bat on the ball," said MCHS coach Steve Reese. "We've got two more games this week though. That's the great thing about baseball. You get to throw them back into the fire and see how they respond."
Connor Pierce led the Raiders at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, and 2 RBI, while Josh Frantz (2 RBI), David Andrews (2 RBI), Taylor Warwick (1 RBI), Darian Prewett (1 RBI), and Zach Harrison (1 RBI) notched two hits apiece.
Tiger starting pitcher Cameron Isley had to settle for the no decision after allowing one run in three plus innings of work on five hits and two walks. Marshall County reliever Lane Whitesell suffered the loss and yielded five runs over an inning and a third on one hit, two walks, and two hit batsmen.
The Tigers, meanwhile, finished with eight hits overall. Jay Murphy (2 RBI) and Ethan Poteete (1 RBI) both tallied two hits to pace MCHS offensively with Murphy belting his third homerun of the season. Connor Bush (2 RBI), Aaron Hobbs (1 RBI), Stuart Warner, and Bubba Houghton also notched one hit apiece for Marshall County.
Spring Hill starting pitcher Michael Mackezyk picked up the win on the mound and gave up six runs over four and a third innings on six hits and four walks. Pierce then came on in relief of Mackezyk and allowed two hits over one and two-third scoreless innings.
Marshall County got off to a promising start and grabbed a 2-0 lead when Murphy cranked a two-run homer over the left field fence after Warner drew a two-out walk.
Spring Hill cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the third on a RBI double by Frantz, but missed a chance to tie the game in the fourth inning when they had a runner tagged out at home plate while trying to score on a wild pitch.
The Tigers stretched their lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a RBI single by Hobbs, but things quickly went downhill after that point, as the Raiders exploded for seven runs in the top of the fifth on the strength of a bunt single by Prewett, two hit batsmen, four walks, and RBI singles by Pierce, Warwick, and Frantz to seize an 8-3 advantage.
The Tigers tried to claw their way back into the contest and narrowed the gap to 8-6 in the bottom of the fifth on a Poteete RBI single and a two-run double by Bush.
Spring Hill, though, delivered the knockout out blow in the top of the sixth and crossed home plate nine times in the frame with the help of a Josh Wilkinson RBI single, a wild pitch, a RBI infield single by Prewett, a Zach Harrison bases loaded walk, a two-run double by Austin Dunston, a RBI infield single by Andrews, a Pierce RBI single, and a MCHS error.
Pierce then struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth to keep the mercy rule in effect.