MC 12s ousted by forced forfeit
The Marshall County 12-year old All-Stars were eliminated from the Cal Ripken District 8 baseball tournament in bizarre fashion on Sunday afternoon when they were forced to forfeit in the loser's bracket final after battling the South Williamson Spartans to a 6-6 tie through seven innings of play.
Marshall County held a 6-2 lead through the first five innings of play, but the Spartans mounted a frantic rally in the bottom of the sixth and crossed home plate four times in the frame, highlighted by a two-out, three-run homer by Caleb Lanford, to knot the score at 6-6.
Following a scoreless seventh inning, South Williamson was awarded the victory when it was ruled that Marshall County relief pitcher Tyler Wolaver had exceeded his two-game innings limit.
With pitchers allowed to throw only six innings over a two-game span, Wolaver had pitched in four innings in Sunday's contest after being officially credited with three innings the previous night against Lawrence County. Marshall County's coaches contended that Wolaver had only thrown two innings in their last game, but lost the argument because they had failed to sign the official pitching sheet the previous evening.
Although they will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming State Tournament, Marshall County will get to compete again when they host the 12-year old Southeast Regional, which starts on July 23.
The controversial ending overshadowed what had been a well played and tightly contested game between the two teams.
Aided by their late offensive surge, South Williamson finished with six hits overall. Nathan Dietrich went 2-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI to pace the Spartans at the plate, while Lanford (3 RBI), Cruz Pitsinos (1 RBI), Carson McMann, and Aaron Franklin each had one hit.
Marshall County starting pitcher Preston Shelton had to settle for the no decision after allowing two runs in three and a third innings of work on two hits and four walks. Wolaver then took the mound and yielded four runs over three and two-third innings on four hits and three walks while notching eight strikeouts.
Marshall County also tallied six hits against four South Williamson pitchers. Sam Williams went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI to pace Marshall County at the plate while Carson Blackwell added a three-run homer and Wolaver belted a solo home run. Austin Grubbs and Preston Shelton each notched a hit as well.
Out in front
Marshall County grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Grubbs raced home on a RBI single by Williams after ripping a leadoff double down the left field line.
In the top of the fourth, Marshall County scratched out another run to open up a 2-0 advantage. After drawing a leadoff walk, Grubbs stole second and advanced to third on the play thanks to a throwing error before Williams blasted a RBI single off the base of the left field fence.
The Spartans tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth with the help of three walks and a two-run single by Dietrich, but Marshall County responded with four runs in the top of the fifth to seize a 6-2 lead.
Matthew Fuller and Shelton both reached base on errors before Blackwell smacked a three-run homer over the right field fence to put Marshall County up 5-2. Wolaver then followed Blackwell by cranking a solo homer to left field.
Facing potential elimination, the Spartans mounted a last ditch rally in the bottom of the sixth and crossed home plate four times in the frame on the strength of a walk, a passed ball, a Patsinos RBI single, a bloop single by Franklin, and Lanford's dramatic three-run bomb to tie the score at 6-6.
After both teams went down in order in the seventh inning, South Williamson's coaches made an official protest about Wolaver's inning limit violation and were awarded the win by the umpires.