Pitchers come through as Dusters beat Blackman
On Saturday afternoon, the Marshall County Dusters ran their record to 2-1 in pool play at the Southern Athletic Fields Invitational by defeating the Blackman Blaze 4-1 at Columbia Central High School.
The game was tied at 1-1 through the first two and a half innings of play, but Marshall County plated three runs over the next two frames while their pitching staff held Blackman scoreless the rest of the way.
With their win over the Blaze, the Dusters clinched second place in their pool and earned a spot in the semifinals of the tournament.
Although he issued seven walks, Marshall County starting pitcher Cameron Isley managed to repeatedly work out of trouble, as he allowed only three hits and gave up just one unearned run in four and two-third innings of work en route to earning the win. Lane Whitesell then came on in relief of Isley and yielded one hit and one walk over two and a third scoreless innings to pick up the save.
The Dusters, meanwhile, tallied eight hits overall. Whitesell led Marshall County's offensive attack by going 2-for-3 with a triple and 2 RBI. Right fielder Madison Peete also notched two hits and gunned down a Blaze base runner at home plate in the top of the fourth inning, while Wilson Limbaugh, Isley, Bubba Houghton, and Dunn Crowder each had one hit.
Isley worked around a double and a hit batsman in the top of the first inning before the Dusters grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of half of the frame when Limbaugh scored on a two-out RBI single by Whitesell after drawing a walk, stealing second, and advancing to third on a wild pitch.
Blackman once again left two runners on base in the second inning, but pushed across a run in the top of the third thanks to a single, a stolen base, and a Marshall County error to tie the contest at 1-1.
The Dusters quickly broke the stalemate by plating a run in the bottom of the third to pull back ahead 2-1. Following a two-out walk by Isley, courtesy runner Josh McKnight advanced to second on a wild pitch before Whitesell roped a RBI triple into the left centerfield gap.
After the Blaze stranded two men in scoring position in the top of the fourth, Marshall County tacked on two more runs in the bottom half of the frame to open up a 4-1 advantage. Crowder belted a leadoff double to deep left field prior to advancing to third on a Peete bunt single. Peete then stole second before both runners scored a few moments later on a Blackman throwing error.
In the top of the fifth, Blackman had a chance to cut into the deficit after loading the bases with two outs on three walks, but Whitesell retired the next batter on a fielder's choice to douse the Blaze rally attempt.
That proved to be Blackman's last serious scoring chance, as Whitesell did not allow a runner past first base over the final two innings to sew up the win for the Dusters.