Dusters clip Coffee County to reach championship clash
The Marshall County Dusters (14-4) advanced to the championship game of the Crethan Hansert Memorial Tournament for the second consecutive year when they defeated tourney host Coffee County 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Marshall County trailed 1-0 through the first three innings of play, but plated two runs in the top of the fourth to seize a 2-1 advantage before Duster starting pitcher Lane Whitesell held the Red Raiders scoreless the rest of the way.
Although he recorded just two strikeouts and issued four walks in seven innings of work, Whitesell limited Coffee County to just five hits in the contest en route to picking up the win. Marshall County also committed four errors in the contest, but offset their defensive miscues by throwing out five Red Raiders on the base paths, including four by catcher Chandler Harmon.
"Lane threw well, but all of our pitchers have thrown well during the tournament. I'm really proud of that," said Duster coach Mike Reese. "Chandler just keeps getting better and better. He's definitely a college prospect. Defensively, he's already there. He needs to get better offensively, but he's a hard worker and we're expecting him to have a good senior year."
The Dusters, meanwhile, managed just four hits against two Coffee County hurlers. Ethan Poteete doubled and drove in a run to account for Marshall County's lone extra base hit of the game, while Whitesell (1 RBI), Harmon, and Dunn Crowder all singled.
Red Raider starting pitcher Daniel Gassman suffered the loss and allowed two runs over five innings on three hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts. Zach Holmes notched two hits to lead Coffee County at the plate, while Noah Anderson, J.D. Duncan, Stanton Keele each had one hit.
The Red Raiders took advantage of the some shoddy defense by Marshall County at the start of the contest and scratched out a run in the top of the first inning with the help of three errors to take a 1-0 lead.
DeAndre Wakefield reached first base on an error to start the inning prior to advancing to second on an errant pickoff throw. Following a walk by Anderson, Wakefield moved to third on another errant pickoff throw before coming home on a Trace Friedlein RBI fielder's choice. After advancing to third on a two-out single by Duncan, Friedlein tried to score when Duncan got caught in a run down between first and second, but was gunned down at the plate by Duster first baseman Derrick McKnight to end the inning.
Gassman held Marshall County scoreless the next two innings, but ran into trouble in the top of the fourth, as the Dusters pushed across two runs in the frame to pull ahead 2-1. Connor Bush drew a leadoff walk prior to advancing to second on a Wilson Limbaugh sacrifice bunt. After Whitesell drove in Bush with a RBI single, courtesy runner Ethan Evans advanced to second on a single by Harmon. Poteete then plated Evans by belting a RBI double to deep left field.
Coffee County stranded a runner at second in the fifth inning before Holmes tried to spark a Red Raider rally attempt in the bottom of the seventh with a one-out single. Boone Riddle then hit into a fielder's choice and tried to advance to second when the Dusters made an errant throw to first on an unsuccessful double play attempt. Harmon, however, quickly chased down the loose ball threw out Riddle at second base to end the game.