Lawrence Co. edges Marshall Co. 11s
After battling their way through the loser's bracket, the Marshall County 11-year old All-Stars had to settle for second place in the Cal Ripken District 8 tournament, as they dropped a hard fought 5-4 decision to the Lawrence County Wildcats in the championship game on Monday night at the Richard Cashion Sports Complex.
Needing to defeat the Wildcats twice in order to win the title, Marshall County trailed 4-2 through the first five innings of play before rallying to tie the contest at 4-4 in the top of the sixth inning.
Lawrence County, however, avoided having to play another game with Marshall County when Blake Birdsong scored from third on an errant pickoff throw in the bottom of the sixth to give the Wildcats the 5-4 victory.
Despite their late offensive flurry, Marshall County finished with a modest six hits overall. Starting pitcher Ryan Kirby helped his own cause by going 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, while Zack Graves (1 RBI), Conner McVey (1 RBI), and Christian Stacey each had one hit.
Lawrence County relief pitcher Matthew Clifton picked up the victory and allowed no hits and no walks over two-thirds of an inning. Although he had to settle for the no decision, Wildcat starting pitcher Colton Moore earned game MVP honors after yielding two runs in five innings of work on four hits while issuing no walks and recording seven strikeouts.
Lawrence County, meanwhile, tallied 10 hits against three Marshall County starting hurlers. Clifton led the Wildcats offensive attack by going 2-for-3 with a homerun and 2 RBI. Colby Norwood and Blake Birdsong notched two hits apiece for Lawrence County as well, while Kaden Vaughn (1 RBI), Eli White, Weston Beck, and Kaiden Matney each had one hit.
Stacey suffered the loss on the mound for Marshall County and allowed one run in one inning of work on two hits. Kirby had to settle for the no decision and gave up three runs over three innings on seven hits and a walk.
Marshall leads early
Marshall County got off to a fast start and pushed across two runs in the top of the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead. Kirby doubled to lead off the frame before advancing to third on a Peyton Graves groundout. After lacing a RBI single down the left field line to drive in Kirby, Zach Graves stole second. Graves then advanced to third on a Stacey groundout prior to coming home on a RBI infield single by McVey.
The Wildcats quickly erased the deficit, as Clifton belted a two-run homer over the left field fence in the bottom of the first to knot the game at 2-2 after Vaughn drew a one-out walk.
In the bottom of the second, Lawrence County plated another run with the help of a Beck single, an error, and a RBI double by Vaughn to pull ahead 3-3.
Both teams left runners in scoring position over the next two innings before the Wildcats tacked on another run in the fifth on a RBI groundout by Moore to open up a 4-2 advantage.
White then replaced Moore on the mound in the top of the sixth and quickly ran into trouble, as he recorded just one out while Marshall County scored two runs with the help of a Kirby single, two errors, a single by Stacey, and a balk to retie the game at 4-4.
Lawrence County, though, pulled out the 5-4 win thanks to some savvy base running by Birdsong. After leading off the inning with an infield single, Birdsong stole second before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Birdsong then raced home with the winning run when Stacey's pickoff throw sailed wide of the third baseman and rolled up the right field fence.