Dusters pull away for victory

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Marshall County coach Mike Reese congratulates Jay Murphy as he rounds third base after Murphy belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning against Tullahoma. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Having already earned a spot in the semifinals of the Crethan Hansert Memorial Tournament, the Marshall County Dusters (13-4) wrapped up pool play by defeating the Tullahoma Wildcats 11-3 in five innings on Saturday night.

Despite being without several of their normal starters, Tullahoma hung tough for much of the contest and trailed just 5-3 through the first four and a half innings of play.

Marshall County, however, brought the game to a swift conclusion in the bottom of the fifth by pushing across six runs in the frame to bring the mercy rule into effect.

Marshall County starting hurler Bubba Houghton delivers a pitch to home plate in the top of the first inning against Tullahoma.

Active bats

The Dusters made solid contact throughout the game and pounded out 11 hits against three Wildcat pitchers to go along with eight walks and two Tullahoma errors.

Connor Bush (2 RBI) and Ethan Poteete (1 RBI) both tallied three hits to lead Marshall County's offensive attack. Lane Whitesell also notched two hits and 2 RBI, while Jay Murphy added a three-run homer. Chandler Harmon and Dunn Crowder each had a hit for the Dusters as well.

Marshall County starting pitcher Bubba Houghton went the distance on the mound to pick up the victory and yielded three runs on eight hits and a walk.

Grey Alexander and Mikey Lett both registered two hits and a RBI to pace the Wildcats at the plate, while David Gagnier (1 RBI), Jay Phillips, Channing Green, and Austin Mullins had one hit apiece.

Dusters strike back

Tullahoma grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Lett scored on a RBI single by Gagnier after belting a two-out double.

The Dusters mounted an immediate response and plated three runs in the bottom of the first to seize a 3-1 advantage. Following consecutive two-out singles by Whitesell and Harmon, Murphy cranked a three-run homer over the centerfield fence.

Marshall County stretched their lead to 5-1 by tallying two runs in the bottom of the second. After drawing a two-out walk and stealing second, Bush scored on a Wildcat throwing error while Isley reached second base on the play. Whitesell then smacked a RBI double to deep left field to drive in Isley.

Threat averted

Tullahoma began to chip away at the Dusters lead and narrowed the gap to 5-2 in the top of the third on a RBI single by Lett before scratching out another run in the fifth inning thanks to an Alexander RBI single to whittle the deficit to 5-3.

Marshall County then delivered the knockout blow in the bottom of the fifth and crossed home plate six times in the frame on the strength of three walks, a RBI single by Poteete, a Crowder double, a RBI fielder's choice by Wilson Limbaugh, a Bush two-run single, an error, and a RBI groundout by Whitesell to cap their 11-3 victory.