Dusters outslug Stewarts Creek
The Marshall County Dusters (15-4) captured their second straight Crethan Hansert Memorial Tournament title on Sunday night when they defeated the Stewarts Creek Red Hawks 11-7 in the championship game at Coffee County High School.
Stewarts Creek had beaten Marshall County 6-5 in their pool game on Thursday, but the Dusters turned the tables on the Red Hawks in Sunday's contest and built an 8-4 lead through the first four and a half innings of play.
After Stewarts Creek sliced the deficit to 8-7 in the bottom of the fifth, Marshall County responded with three runs in the top of the sixth to open up an 11-7 advantage before reliever Chandler Harmon held the Red Hawks scoreless over the final two frames.
The Dusters swung hot bats throughout the contest and banged out 12 hits against three Stewarts Creek hurlers to go along with six walks and two Red Hawk errors. Ethan Poteete (2 RBI) and Lane Whitesell (1 RBI) tallied three hits apiece to spearhead Marshall County's offensive attack, while starting pitcher Cameron Isley added two hits. Wilson Limbaugh (3 RBI), Bubba Houghton (1 RBI), Derrick McKnight, and Connor Bush each had one hit for the Dusters as well.
Isley also picked up the victory on the mound and allowed six runs, four earned, over four plus innings on six hits and a walk. Harmon then yielded one run over the final three innings on three hits to earn the save.
Austin Steel went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to pace Stewarts Creek at the plate, while Daniel Freeman (2 RBI), Jonathan Pelleaux (1 RBI), Maddox Vondohlen (1 RBI), Micah McClellan, Greshem Mosley, and Corey Perkins had one hit apiece. Red Hawk starting pitcher Luke Alexander suffered the loss and gave up five runs over two innings on five hits and three walks.
The Dusters broke out of the gates quickly and crossed home plate four times in the top of the first inning on the strength of a Poteete RBI single, a bases loaded walk by Dunn Crowder, and a Limbaugh two-run double to take a 4-0 lead.
Stewarts Creek narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the bottom of the first on a pair of RBI singles by Freeman and Vondohlen before Marshall County opened up a 5-2 advantage in the top of the second when McKnight scored on a passed ball after drawing a walk and advancing to third on a Bush sacrifice bunt and an infield single by Isley.
In the bottom of the second, the Red Hawks tallied two more runs with the help of a Greshem single, two errors, a double steal, and a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 5-4.
The Dusters then stretched their lead to 6-4 in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly by Limbaugh before pushing across two runs in the fifth inning behind a Whitesell single, a double by Poteete, a Houghton RBI single, and an error to forge an 8-4 advantage.
Stewarts Creek made another charge and closed the gap to 8-7 in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by Pelleaux and a couple of RBI fielder's choices by Craig Baggett and Freeman.
Marshall County quickly counter punched and tacked on three runs in the top of the sixth thanks to a McKnight single, a single by Isley, a Whitesell RBI double, a RBI single by Poteete, and an error to extend their lead to 11-7.
Harmon then took care of the rest, as he allowed just one hit over the final two innings to close out the win for the Dusters.