Stars shine bright, win title
The Marshall County 15-year old All-Stars turned in a super nova performance Monday night, capping off a clean sweep of the Babe Ruth District 8 Tournament with a 17-2 run-rule win over Giles County in the title game.
"I'm really proud of the guys, they played great ball the entire tournament," said head coach Mike Bailey. "They hit the ball hard all over the park, our goal is to hit the ball hard every time up and they did that all tournament, up and down the lineup. We got good pitching and defense as well, but I tell them all the time teams will quit if you hit the ball all over the park and that's what we've done the entire tournament and I just hope we can carry that on to the state."
Marshall County outscored their opponents 54-10 on offense, while the pitching staff gave up a measly four hits the entire tournament.
On Monday, it was Austin Wood's turn at perfection on the mound as No. 7 went four innings to pick up the complete game victory.
Wood gave up a lone triple in the first inning and ended the contest with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.
"We have got six or seven pitchers and I would not be afraid to trot any of them out there," said Bailey. "We are pretty deep there and I hope that helps us at the state tournament as well."
Wood also went 1-4 at the plate with a base on balls, three runs scored, and two RBIs.
Three in first
Marshall County followed their script to perfection, scoring three times in the top of the first inning via RBI base hits by Brayden Gentry, Thomas Hawkins, and Tristan Underwood.
In the bottom of the inning, Giles County came up with a pair of runs as Nick Faust led off the frame with a walk and scored one out later on an RBI triple by Colton Holley.
Holley would come home on an RBI sacrifice fly by Jacob Peoples before Wood got out of the inning on a ground ball to Brett McGehee at second base.
With one out in the top of the second, Wood, Gentry, Hawkins, Underwood, and Logan Bailey drew successive base on balls to put Marshall County up 5-2.
Wood held firm in the home half of the inning, setting down Giles County 1-2-3.
Marshall County went to work on offense in a big way in the top of the second inning as they sent 15 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs to open a 15-2 lead.
Wood escaped a scoring threat in the bottom of the second inning when Nate Bryant reached on a two-out error and went to third on a wild pitch before Wood reached back and struck out Holley looking to end the inning.
Marshall County was within two runs of setting up a potential run-rule win and with two outs in the top of the fourth, Will Johnson singled and Iendi Biggers followed with a double, putting MC runners on second and third.
The red-hot Hunter Bradford stepped and drilled a double to leftfield, scoring both runners that opened up a 17-2 lead for Marshall County.
Two infield errors and base on balls loaded the bases for Giles County with two outs in the home half of the stanza, but Wood reached back and ended the game in style, whiffing the final batter to secure the district title.
Gentry (3-3, 3RS, 2RBIs, BB) and Biggers (3-4, 3RS, 2RBIs, SB) had three hits apiece in the contest, while McGehee (2-4, 2RS, RBI, BB), Underwood (2-3, RS, 3RBIs), Johnson (2-3, HBP), and Bradford (2-4, 2RS, 4RBIs) all had two hits apiece.
Hawkins ended up with one hit, scored twice and drove in one run, while Logan Bailey also had one hit and one RBI for Marshall County, who will travel to Lebanon for the state tournament, slated to begin on July 18.
"I have been with most of these kids since they were 10," said Mike Bailey. "We have been close in the past, when they were 11 they won state and went to the Southeast Region, so they got a taste of that. I think they are hungry, it's been four years so I think they are hungry and if things come together like they did here, I think we have a good chance."