Ensworth hands Dusters 6-2 defeat
Ensworth salvaged a split of a doubleheader with the Marshall County Dusters (19-8) by winning the second game 6-2 in five innings on Monday night at Joe George Field.
Aided by a strong performance from starting pitcher Sammy Groninger, the Tigers built a 6-0 lead through the first four innings of play before cruising to the four-run victory.
Groninger picked up the victory on the mound and yielded just two hits and two walks in four scoreless innings of work to go along with five strikeouts. Alex Just came on in relief of Groninger and yielded two runs in one inning on one hit and two walks.
Ensworth, meanwhile, finished with seven hits and three walks against two Marshall County hurlers. Groninger helped his own cause by going 2-for-2 with 3 RBI. Jonah Wicks tallied two hits for the Tigers as well, while Turner Schooley (1 RBI), Wylie Lowe (1 RBI), and Coleman Goodwin each had one hit.
Duster starting pitcher Lane Whitesell suffered the loss and gave up four runs over two and a third innings on five hits and three walks. Bubba Houghton also saw time on the mound for Marshall County and allowed two runs in two and two-third innings of work on two hits. Connor Bush (2 RBI), Cameron Isley, and Wilson Limbaugh each recorded a hit for the Dusters.
The Tigers wasted no time getting on the board and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Johnson and Goodwin both singled to put runners on first and second with one out before Groninger drove in Johnson with a RBI single. After Lowe drew a walk to load the bases, Goodwin raced home on a sacrifice fly by Schooley.
Whitesell held Ensworth scoreless in the second inning, but the Tigers pushed across two more runs in the top of the third to open up a 4-0 advantage. Following a leadoff walk by Nick Rolfe, Wicks reached base on a bloop single to put men on first and second with no outs. Both runners then moved up 90 feet on a groundout by Goodwin before Groninger smacked a two-run single into right centerfield.
In the top of the fourth, Ensworth tacked on a couple of insurance runs with the help of a Schooley double, a RBI triple by Groninger, and a Collin Hopkins sacrifice fly to stretch their lead to 6-0.
Marshall County had a chance to put a dent in the Tigers lead in the bottom of the fourth after loading the bases with one out on a bloop double by Isley, a Bubba Houghton walk, and a hit batsman, but Groninger retired the next two batters on a fielder's choice and a strikeout to escape the inning unscathed.
The Dusters managed to spoil Ensworth's shutout bid by crossing home plate twice in the bottom of the fifth thanks to two walks and a two-run triple by Bush for the 6-2 final.