Dusters rally for 8-7 win vs. Ensworth
Despite having to shake off some rust from a two-week layoff, the Marshall County Dusters (19-7) managed to pull out a victory on Monday when they defeated the Ensworth Tigers 8-7 in eight innings at home in the first game of a doubleheader.
After the two teams battled to a 5-5 tie through the first seven innings of play, Ensworth scored two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 7-5 lead.
The Dusters, however, saved their best for last and crossed home plate three times in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a Derrick McKnight sacrifice fly and a two-out, two-run single by Lane Whitesell to escape with the one-run victory.
Hot at plate
Bolstered by their late offensive surge, Marshall County finished with 11 hits overall to go along with seven walks and five Tiger errors. Whitesell led the Dusters at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a walk, a triple, and 3 RBI. Derrick McKnight (1 RBI) and Connor Bush both tallied two hits apiece for Marshall County as well, while Cameron Isley (1 RBI), Bubba Houghton, Madison Peete, and starting pitcher Josh McKnight each had one hit.
Ensworth relief pitcher Jonah Wicks suffered the loss after allowing three runs, one earned, in one inning on three hits and a walk. Tiger starting hurler Nick Rolfe had to settle for the no decision and yielded five runs over six and two-third innings.
Ensworth pounded out 13 hits and drew eight walks against three Duster pitchers. Marshall County also committed three errors in the contest, but offset their defensive miscues by throwing out five Tiger runners on the base paths.
Sammy Groninger and Coleman Goodwin both tallied three hits and 2 RBI to lead Ensworth's offensive attack. Turner Schooley (1 RBI) and Rolfe notched two hits apiece for the Tigers as well, while Wicks, Alex Just, and Greyson Lampley each had one hit.
Isley picked up the victory on the mound after coming on in relief in the top of the seventh inning and allowed three runs over two innings on four hits and two walks.
Ensworth grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Rolfe stole home after reaching base on an infield single and advancing to third on an error.
Marshall County quickly counterpunched and pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first with the help of an error and a pair of RBI triples by Isley and Whitesell to pull ahead 2-1.
The Tigers plated two runs in the top of the third on a RBI triple by Goodwin and a Lampley RBI groundout to seize a 3-2 advantage, but the Dusters tallied a run in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a Bush single, a walk by Isley, a Whitesell bunt single, and a throwing error to knot the score at 3-3.
After Ensworth took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth on a Goodwin RBI single, Marshall County retied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth with the aid of a sacrifice fly by Chandler Harmon.
The Tigers scratched out a run in the top of the seventh on the strength of a Groninger triple and a RBI bunt single by Wicks to grab a 5-4 lead, but the Dusters staved off defeat by plating a run in the bottom half of the frame to knot the contest at 5-5. Marshall County loaded the bases with one out on a Derrick McKnight single and a pair of walks before pinch runner Blake Darnell scored on a wild pitch.
Groninger belted a two-run triple in the top of the eighth to put Ensworth back up 7-5, but the Dusters once again battled back in the bottom half of the inning. Peete and Josh McKnight both singled to put runners on first and third before Peete raced home on a sacrifice fly by Derrick McKnight to whittle the deficit to 7-6. After Bush drew a walk, Isley reached on an error to load the bases with two outs. Whitesell then smacked a two-run single into left centerfield to give Marshall County the 8-7 win.