Errors derail Dusters vs. Summit in opener
The Marshall County Dusters began the 2014 summer baseball season with a thud, as they lost 9-2 in five innings to the Summit Spartans in the 17th Annual Southern Athletic Fields Invitational on Thursday afternoon at Columbia Central High School.
After Summit built a 4-0 lead through the first three innings of play, the Dusters narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the top of the fourth before the Spartans brought the mercy rule into effect by pushing across five runs over the next two frames.
Marshall County finished with eight hits against two Spartan pitchers, but left seven runners on base overall. Ethan Poteete and Cameron Isley both tallied two hits to lead the Dusters at the plate, while Connor Bush, Chandler Harmon, Wilson Limbaugh, and Blake Darnell each had one hit.
"We swung the bats ok, but we didn't get the big hit when we needed them," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "If we could have gotten a couple of more hits when we had the bases loaded it could have been a different ballgame."
Duster starting pitcher Josh McKnight went the distance on the mound and suffered the loss after allowing seven hits and two walks over four and a third innings. Marshall County also made McKnight's task harder by committing six errors, which led to four of Summit's nine runs.
"We had a lot of rust because we hadn't played in almost three weeks. We also have a lot of younger kids playing right now because we have some older players that are out. We'll just have to grow as the season goes along," said Reese.
Ethan Keuhl (2 RBI) and Brandon Johns (1 RBI) notched two hits apiece to pace Summit offensively, while Will Dalton (1 RBI) Hayden Reed (1 RBI), and Tanner Hord each had one hit.
Spartan starting hurler Cody Campbell picked up the win on the mound and allowed two runs in four innings of work on seven hits and a walk.
Loaded bases, but...
Marshall County left the bases loaded in the top of the first inning before Summit crossed home plate three times in the bottom half of the frame thanks to a Kuehl two-run single and a RBI sacrifice bunt by Wade Lopicolo to grab a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Spartans took advantage of some shoddy defense by the Dusters and plated a run with the help of two errors and a Dalton sacrifice fly to open up a 4-0 advantage.
Marshall Count finally got on the board in the top of the fourth and tallied two runs in the frame to whittle the deficit to 4-2. After Poteete and Limbaugh both singled, Bubba Houghton drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Poteete then raced home on a wild pitch before Limbaugh scored on a Summit error.
The Spartans mounted a swift response and tallied two runs in the bottom of the fourth on the strength of a Johns bunt single, a single by Hord, a Gavin Ford walk, a RBI sacrifice bunt by Reed, and a Turcois RBI fielder's choice to stretch their lead to 6-2.
Summit then delivered the knockout blow by pushing across three runs in the fifth inning with the help of walk by Dalton, three errors, and a Johns RBI bunt single to wrap up their 9-2 victory.