Dusters blow out Blaze in final game of tournament

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Marshall County starting pitcher Josh McKnight, shown here against Summit, tossed a one-hitter to help lead the Dusters to a 15-1 win over Blackman. Tribune photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Having lost their first three games at the Boro Classic, the Marshall County Dusters (18-7) ended the tournament on a positive note when they whipped tourney host Blackman 15-1 in five innings on Friday night.

With Blackman playing many of their younger players, the Dusters gave the youthful Blaze squad a trial by fire, as they built a 10-1 lead through the first three innings of play before tacking on five runs in the top of the fifth to cruise to the mercy rule shortened victory.

Hitters ignite

After scoring a total of six runs in their three previous games, Marshall County finally broke out of their offensive funk and pounded out 13 hits against three Blackman hurlers to go along with seven walks and two hit batsmen. Madison Peete and Dunn Crowder both tallied two hits and 3 RBI to lead the Dusters offensive attack. Cameron Isley (1 RBI) and Connor Bush notched two hits apiece for Marshall County as well, while Bryce Wunderlin (1 RBI), Zack Smith (1 RBI), Lane Whitesell, Wilson Limbaugh, and Jay Murphy each had one hit.

Duster starting pitcher Josh McKnight turned in a strong performance on the mound and yielded just one hit in five innings of work while issuing three walks and recording four strikeouts en route to picking up the win.

"We swung the bats well and I was happy for the kids," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "Josh also pitched well too. It was a good way to end the tournament."

Amuri Burkes doubled and scored a run to account for the Blaze's lone hit of the contest.

Offense takes off

The Dusters wasted no time getting on the board and pushed across five runs in the top of the first inning to take a 5-0 lead.

Bush led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch prior to coming home on a RBI double by Isley. Following a walk by Lane Whitesell, Murphy reached on an infield single to load the bases with no outs before Crowder drove in Isley with a RBI bloop single. After Houghton drew an RBI walk to make it 3-0, pinch runner Zack Smith was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice by Josh McKnight. Limbaugh then plated Crowder with a RBI single before Houghton scored on a sacrifice by Wunderlin.

In the top of the second, Marshall County opened up an 8-0 advantage by tallying three runs in the frame with the help of two walks, a Smith infield single, an error, and a Crowder two-run single.

The Dusters then tacked on two more runs in the top of the third thanks to two walks, an Isley RBI single, a hit batsman, and a catcher's interference call to stretch their lead to 10-0.

More runs

Blackman trimmed the deficit to 10-1 in the bottom of the third when Burkes scored on a balk after belting a leadoff double and advancing to third on a groundout.

Marshall County continued to pour it on in the top of the fifth and crossed home plate five more times in the inning on the strength of a Wunderlin single, a single by Bush, a hit batsman, a Whitesell two-run double, a walk by Ethan Evans, and Peete three-run double to cap their 15-1 triumph.