Marshall Co. 11s conquer Cookeville
The Marshall County 11-year old All-Stars got off to a promising start in the Cal Ripken State Tournament when they defeated Cookeville 8-4 in their opening pool game on the 4th of July in Pulaski.
Marshall County held a tenuous 3-2 lead through the first four innings of play, but broke the game open with some late offensive fireworks and crossed home plate five times in the top of the fifth to forge an 8-2 advantage before claiming the four-run victory.
Although they mustered only five hits and three walks in the contest, Marshall County capitalized on four Cookeville errors, which led to five of their eight runs. Leadoff hitter Ryan Kirby helped spark Marshall County's offense by going 2-for-2 with a walk, 2 RBI, and two runs scored. Brady Calahan (1 RBI), Peyton Graves, and Mason Collins tallied one hit apiece as well.
Marshall County starting pitcher Zack Graves went the distance on the mound to earn the win and yielded four runs in six innings of work on seven hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts.
Skyler Allen went 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored to pace Cookeville at the plate, while Layne Dale (3 RBI), Levi Wilkin, starting pitcher Tic Christian, Sawyer Beaty, and Silas Randolf each had one hit. Christian suffered the loss on the mound and yielded three runs, one earned, over three innings on two hits and two walks.
Marshall County grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Kirby scored on a RBI groundout by Christian Stacey after drawing a leadoff walk and advancing to third on a double by Peyton Graves.
Cookeville briefly pulled ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning thanks to a two-run single by Dale, but Marshall County responded with two runs in the top of the third to seize a 3-2 advantage. After drawing a leadoff walk, Howard advanced to second on an error while Allen Osborne reached first base on the play. Howard then stole third and scampered home on a throwing error by Cookeville's catcher before Kirby drove in Osborne with a RBI single.
Out of a jam
Cookeville had a chance to pull back ahead in the bottom of the fourth after loading the bases with two outs on two walks and an error, but Zack Graves retired Elliot Lee on an infield pop up to escape the jam.
That missed opportunity quickly came back to haunt Cookeville in the top of the fifth, as Marshall County pushed across five runs in the frame with the help of a Collins single, an error, a RBI single by Calahan, a Kirby RBI single, a wild pitch, two walks, a balk, a RBI groundout by Stacey, and a steal of home by Osborne to stretch their lead to 8-2.
Cookeville then notched two runs in the bottom of the sixth on the strength of a Silas Randle single, a single by Allen, and a pair of RBI groundouts by Dalton Distefano and Dale for the 8-4 final.