Cookeville clips Marshall County
On Sunday afternoon, the Marshall County Stars saw their run in the 15-year old Babe Ruth State Tournament come to an end when they suffered a gut wrenching 2-1 loss to Cookeville in the losers bracket finals.
Having lost 7-5 to Cookeville earlier in the tournament, the Stars appeared they might even the score in Sunday's contest and held a tenuous 1-0 lead at the end of the sixth inning.
Cookeville, however, broke Marshall County's hearts for the second time in three days, as they pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh inning with the help of three singles, a wild pitch, a walk, and a hit batsman to seize a 2-1 advantage before holding the Stars scoreless in the bottom half of the frame.
Although Cookeville committed four errors in the contest, Marshall County was unable to capitalize on those extra outs and mustered just four hits and two walks against two Cookeville pitchers while leaving nine men on base, including six in scoring position.
"We just couldn't string hits together and went cold against them today. No offense to them, but we had faced this kind of pitching before and done well against it," said Stars manager Mike Bailey.
Marshall Co. hitters
Ben Taylor doubled and drove in a run to account for the Stars' lone extra base hit of the game, while Austin Wood, Will Johnson, and Iendi Biggers all singled.
Marshall County starting pitcher Trent Richardson turned in an admirable effort on the mound, but suffered the loss after allowing two runs over six and a third innings on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts. Brayden Gentry came on in relief of Richardson and did not yield a hit or a walk over two-thirds of an inning.
Cody Hutcherson, David Lofton, Ryan Ransom, Dakota Beasley, and Justin Carr each notched one hit for Cookeville. Relief pitcher Jerry Hammons picked up the win for Cookeville and allowed one hit and two walks in three scoreless innings of work. Cookeville starting pitcher Jacob Piggott had to settle of for the no decision after yielding one unearned run over four innings on three hits.
The Stars got off to a promising start and plated a run in the bottom of the first inning to grab 1-0 lead. After McGehee reached base on an error, Wood hit into a fielder's choice to replace McGehee on the base paths before stealing second. Taylor then drove in Wood by belting a RBI double to deep left field.
Cookeville had a chance to take the lead in the top of the second inning after putting men on second and third thanks to a walk, an error, and a passed ball, but Richardson struck out Caleb Clayton to snuff out the threat.
Marshall County then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second before stranding a runner in scoring position in three of the next four innings.
Those missed opportunities would come back to haunt the Stars in the top of the seventh, as Cookeville loaded the bases with no outs on consecutive singles by Loftin, Ransom, and Beasley. After Loftin scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1, Piggott drew a walk to reload the bases with one out. The home plate umpire then ruled that a pitch by Gentry grazed Clayton, which allowed Ransom to come home and give Cookeville a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hammons retired Marshall County in order to secure the victory for Cookeville.