Dusters whip Wildcats 14-1

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Marshall County relief pitcher Josh McKnight tossed three scoreless innings in the Dusters 14-1 win over Lawrence County. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After splitting their first two games at the Crethan Hansert Memorial Tournament, the Marshall County Dusters improved to 2-1 in pool play by defeating the Lawrence County Wildcats 14-1 in six innings on Friday afternoon at Tullahoma High School.

With Lawrence County exclusively playing their underclassmen, the Dusters (12-4) had little trouble disposing of the Wildcats and built an 8-1 lead through the first five innings of play before pushing across six runs in the top of the sixth to bring the mercy rule into effect.

Developing players

Marshall County's Dunn Crowder rounds third base while scoring on a two-run single by Josh McKnight in the top of the sixth inning against Lawrence County.

"We both played our young kids although their kids might have been a little bit younger than ours," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "The kids got to work on their skills and we got a chance to evaluate them. That's what these summer games are for so you can develop your players."

The Dusters pounded out 11 hits and drew three walks against two Lawrence County pitchers, but were also aided by eight Wildcat errors, which contributed to 13 of Marshall County's 14 runs. Ethan Evans (3 RBI), Josh McKnight (2 RBI), Blake Darnell (2 RBI), Zack Smith (1 RBI), and Dunn Crowder tallied two hits apiece to lead the Dusters' offensive attack, while Derrick McKnight added one hit.

Marshall County starting pitcher Wilson Limbaugh picked up the win after allowing one unearned run in three plus innings of work on one hit and five walks to go along with four strikeouts. Josh McKnight then came on in relief of Limbaugh and yielded one hit over three scoreless innings while issuing no walks and notching five strikeouts.

Kason Gardner and Dustin Gage each singled to account for both Lawrence County hits. Wildcat starting hurler Ben Barnett suffered the loss and allowed eight runs over five innings on eight hits and two walks.

Early lead

The Dusters pushed across four runs in the top of the first inning with the help of an Evans single, a single by Crowder, two errors, a Smith RBI single, an infield single by Josh McKnight, and a Darnell bases loaded walk to take a 4-0 lead.

Lawrence County notched a run in the bottom of the first thanks to a walk by Jett Beasley and a Marshall County error to trim the deficit to 4-1, before the Dusters plated a run in the top of the fourth on a error and an Evans RBI groundout to open up a 5-1 advantage.

The Wildcats had a chance to put a dent in Marshall County's lead in the bottom of the fourth after loading the bases with no outs, but Josh McKnight retired the next three Lawrence County batters on a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to extinguish the threat.

Stronger lead

In the top of the fifth, the Dusters stretched their lead to 8-1 by tacking on three runs in the frame on the strength of an error, a hit batsman, a Derrick McKnight sacrifice bunt, a RBI single by Darnell, a double steal, and a Limbaugh RBI groundout.

Marshall County then delivered the knockout blow in the top of the sixth and crossed home plate six times in the inning behind four errors, a Darnell walk, and a couple of two-run singles by Josh McKnight and Evans to cap their 14-1 triumph.