Gentry's clutch hit leads Stars to victory
After suffering a tough 7-5 loss to Cookeville the previous evening, the Marshall County Stars staved off elimination from the 15-year old Babe Ruth State Tournament by defeating Tullahoma 4-3 in the first round of the losers bracket on Saturday night in Lebanon.
Marshall County held a 3-1 lead through the first six innings of play, but Tullahoma battled back in the top of the seventh and plated two runs in the frame to tie the game at 3-3.
Pulling it off
The Stars regained their composure in the bottom half of the inning and pulled out the win when Brayden Gentry drove in Austin Wood with a clutch RBI single.
"I was feeling pretty confident because I hit the ball hard my last two at bats," said Gentry. "I was sitting on a fastball because it was a 2-0 count and that's what I got."
Gentry enjoyed a big night at the plate and led Marshall County's 10-hit attack by going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a RBI, and a run scored. Tristan Underwood (1 RBI) and Trent Richardson tallied two hits apiece for the Stars as well, while Brett McGehee (1 RBI), Ben Taylor (1 RBI), and Will Johnson each had one hit.
Marshall County starting pitcher Austin Wood went the distance on the mound to pick up the win and yielded three runs, one earned, in seven innings of work on five hits and four walks.
Tullahoma starting hurler Matthew Norman suffered the loss and yielded four runs in six and a third innings of work on eight hits and two walks. Cody Stephens then came on in relief of Norman and gave up Gentry's game winning hit. Stephens, Jayson Spry, Chase Willis, Shandon Hill, and Dylan Prince each notched one hit for Tullahoma.
Marshall County left runners on the corners in the bottom of the first inning, but scratched out a run in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. After Richardson reached base on an error, Underwood singled and Johnson was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out before McGehee drove in Richardson with a two-out RBI single.
Tullahoma knotted the contest at 1-1 in the top of the third when Channing Green scampered home on a wild pitch after reaching second base on a throwing errors and advancing to third on a Nathan Roe groundout.
The Stars mounted an immediate response and pushed across a run in the bottom of the third to pull ahead 2-1. Gentry roped a leadoff double into the left centerfield gap before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Taylor then plated Gentry by smacking a RBI single into centerfield.
Marshall County left a man in scoring position in each of the next two innings but tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a Richardson single, a passed ball, and a RBI single by Underwood to open up a 3-1 advantage.
Tullahoma then erased the deficit by crossing home plate twice in the top of the seventh with the help of a Willis infield single, a single by Hill, a hit batsman, a Roe RBI walk, and a passed ball to retie the score at 3-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, Norman quickly found himself in trouble, as Wood and McGehee each drew walks before they both moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch to put runners on second and third with no outs. Gentry then plated Wood by belting a one-out RBI single over the head of the right fielder to give Marshall County the 4-3 victory.