Tigers edge Cascade in first round

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Marshall County's Aaron Hobbs (third from left) received the Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Memorial Scholarship after the Tigers' 6-5 victory over Cascade on Thursday night. Also pictured are, from left, Marshall County assistant coach Mike Reese, father Steve Hobbs, Danny Hollingsworth, mother Christi Hobbs, and Marshall County head coach Steve Reese. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Marshall County Tigers (18-9) had to scratch and claw to pick up a win in the first round of the District 12-AA tournament, as they defeated the Cascade Champions 6-5 in eight innings on Thursday night at home.

Cascade (18-12) held a 5-4 lead through the first six and a half innings of play, but the Tigers pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh to tie the contest at 5-5.

Marshall County reliever Aaron Hobbs then escaped a no-out, bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth before the Tigers scored the winning run in the bottom half of the frame on a RBI single by Jay Murphy to pull out the hard fought win.

Marshall County pitcher Stuart Warner throws out Cascade's Lance Parker at first base in the top of the second inning.

Eleven hits

The Tigers finished with 11 hits and five walks against three Cascade pitchers. Cameron Isley (1 RBI), Grayson Wiles (1 RBI) , and Aaron Hobbs tallied two hits apiece to lead Marshall County offensively, while Murphy (2 RBI), Chandler Harmon (1 RBI), Ethan Poteete (1 RBI), Lane Whitesell, and Connor Bush each had one hit.

Hobbs also picked up the victory on the mound and allowed one run in three innings of work on four hits and three walks to go along with six strikeouts. Tiger starting pitcher Stuart Warner had to settle for the no decision after yielding four runs over four innings on six hits and two walks.

Colton Weaver paced the Champions at the plate by going 3-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. Reliever Chandler Monajjem and Sam Gardner notched two hits and a RBI for Cascade as well, while Nolan Barnes added a double and 2 RBI. Monajjam suffered the loss on the mound and gave up two runs over three and a third innings on five hits and a walk.

Marshall County grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Hobbs raced home on a RBI single by Wiles after drawing a leadoff walk and advancing to second on a Whitesell sacrifice bunt.

Two more runs

Marshall County then extended their lead to 3-0 by plating two runs in the second inning. After Bubba Houghton and Hobbs sandwiched a pair of walks around a Bush single to load the bases with one out, Harmon drove in Houghton with a RBI single before Bush came home when Murphy was hit by a pitch.

Warner held the Champions scoreless the next two innings, but ran into trouble in the top of the fifth, as Cascade crossed home plate four times in the frame on the strength of a Lance Parker double, a walk by Monajjem, a Weaver RBI single, a two-run double by Barnes, and a Gardner RBI single to seize a 4-3 lead.

The Tigers tallied a run in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a double by Wiles and a RBI single by Poteete to knot the score at 4-4, but the Champions pushed across a run in the top of the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Monajjem to pull ahead 6-5.

Big break

In the bottom of the seventh, Marshall County caught a break when Cascade left fielder Blake Floyd dropped a high fly ball by Murphy to start the inning, which allowed Murphy to reach second base on the play. Pinch runner Jay Howard then advanced to third on a Wiles groundout before coming home on a RBI single by Poteete.

Cascade loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth on a walk, an error, and a Weaver bunt single, but Hobbs bore down and struck out the next three Champion batters to escape the inning unscathed.

The missed opportunity came back to haunt Cascade in the bottom of the eighth. Following a single by Hobbs, courtesy runner Wilson Limbaugh advanced to third on a double by Whitesell. Monajjem then intentionally walked Harmon to load the bases with one out before Murphy smacked a RBI single over the Champions' drawn in outfield to give the Tigers the 6-5 win.