Oakland outlasts Dusters in 10th inning
After posting a 3-1 record in pool play, the Marshall County Dusters were eliminated from the Southern Athletic Fields Invitational on Sunday afternoon when they lost 8-7 to the Oakland Patriots in 10 innings at Columbia Central High School in the semifinals of the tournament.
Marshall County held a 4-2 lead through the first five innings of play, but the Patriots pushed across four runs in the bottom of the sixth to seize a 6-4 advantage.
The Dusters (3-2) tallied two runs in the top of the seventh to knot the game at 6-6 before each team scored a run in the eighth inning.
Following a scoreless ninth inning, Oakland pulled out the victory in the bottom of the 10th when Ryan Whitefield drove in Cameron Newman with a one-out RBI single.
Aided by their late offensive surge, the Patriots finished with 10 hits and 10 walks against three Marshall County hurlers to go along with six Duster errors. Grayson Preston (2 RBI) and Chase Smith both notched two hits to lead Oakland at the plate.
Marshall County reliever Aaron Hobbs suffered the loss and allowed two runs in two and a third innings of work on four hits and four walks.
The Dusters mustered only seven hits overall, but were aided by eight walks and five Patriot errors. Bubba Houghton (1 RBI) and Hobbs both tallied two hits to lead Marshall County offensively with Houghton cranking a solo homerun. Jay Murphy (2 RBI), Dunn Crowder, and Lane Whitesell also chipped in one hit apiece for the Dusters.
Preston picked up the win on the mound for Oakland after coming on in relief in the top of the eighth and allowed just one hit over two scoreless innings.
The Dusters grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Hobbs scored on an error after belting a two-out double.
Marshall County then opened up a 3-0 advantage in the top of the third on the strength of two walks, a passed ball, and a Murphy two-run single, before the Patriots pushed across two runs in the bottom of the fourth with the help of two walks and three errors to narrow the gap to 3-2.
Houghton blasted a solo shot over the left field fence in the top of the sixth to stake the Dusters to a 4-2 advantage, but Oakland crossed home plate four times in the bottom half of the frame thanks to a Smith single, an error, a walk, a hit batsman, a two-run single by Preston, and a balk to pull ahead 6-4.
Marshall County battled back and pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 6-6. After Derrick McKnight was hit by a pitch to start the inning, courtesy runner Ethan Evans advanced to third on a double by Whitesell. Following a Murphy walk, Hobbs drove in Evans with a RBI groundout before Whitesell raced home on a wild pitch.
Back in front
The Dusters then threw out a Patriot base runner at home plate on a double steal attempt in the bottom of the seventh to maintain the stalemate before tallying a run in the top of the eighth with the help of a Houghton single, an error, and a RBI sacrifice bunt by Madison Peete to grab an 8-7 lead.
Marshall County, though, was unable to hold onto the lead, as Mark Pruitt was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to retie the game at 8-8.
Preston held the Dusters scoreless over the next two innings before Oakland scratched out the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. After Newman blasted a leadoff double to deep right field, Jackson Cauthen drew a walk. Both runners moved up 90 feet on a fly out by Preston before Hobbs issued an intentional walk to Blake Howard to load the bases with one out. Whitefield then ended the contest by lining a RBI single into centerfield to give the Patriots the 8-7 victory.