Stars eliminate Elizabethton in state tourney
The Marshall County Stars kept their title hopes alive for a few more hours in the 15-year old Babe Ruth State Tournament by defeating Elizabethton 9-1 in the second round of the losers bracket on Sunday morning in Lebanon.
After building a 3-1 lead through the first four innings of play, the Stars pulled away down the stretch by outscoring Elizabethton 6-0 over the final three frames to claim their second victory of the tournament.
Marshall County starting pitcher Will Johnson turned in a strong performance on the mound and picked up the win after yielding just one unearned run in seven innings of work on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts. The Stars also aided Johnson's cause by throwing out three Elizabethton runners on the base paths.
"He kept them off balance. Will's got a good fastball and kept the ball down. He's also got a good curveball and was able to locate both pitches," said Stars manager Mike Bailey.
Marshall County, conversely, pounded out 11 hits and drew eight walks against four Elizabethton hurlers. The Stars got contributions throughout their lineup, as 10 different players recorded a hit in the game.
Brayden Gentry led Marshall County's offensive attack by going 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a RBI, and two runs scored, while Brett McGehee (2 RBI), Ben Taylor (1 RBI), Tristan Underwood (1 RBI), Austin Wood, Trent Richardson, Logan Bailey, Johnson, Denver Kelly, and Iendi Biggers tallied one hit apiece.
Elizabethton starting pitcher Tyler White suffered the loss and allowed three runs over two plus innings on three hits and four walks. Noah Heaton notched two hits to pace Elizabethton at the plate, while Alex McCracken, Wyatt Lyons, and Trey Burleson had one hit apiece.
The Stars grabbed an early 2-0 lead by pushing across two runs in the top of the second inning. Bailey smacked a two-out double down the left field line before coming home on a RBI single by Underwood while Underwood advanced to second on the throw home. Underwood then moved to third on a passed ball before scoring on a balk by White.
Marshall County stretched their lead to 3-0 in the top of the third when Wood raced home on a wild pitch after leading off the inning with a single, stealing second, and advancing to third on a wild pitch.
Despite having a runner picked off third by Johnson, Elizabethton scratched out a run in the bottom of the fourth with the help of a walk, a Lyons single, and an error to trim the deficit to 3-1.
The Stars quickly counterpunched and plated a run in the top of the fifth to open up a 4-1 advantage. After belting a ground rule double that got stuck in the base of the left centerfield fence, Gentry scored on a throwing error a few moments later.
In the top of the sixth, Marshall County continued to pad their lead and tacked on three runs in the frame to make it 7-1. Following a leadoff walk by Johnson, courtesy runner Denver Kelly advanced to third on a bloop double by Biggers. After Kelly scored on a passed ball, Wood drew a walk and stole second before Gentry and Taylor delivered consecutive RBI singles.
The Stars then crossed home plate two more times in the top of the seventh on the strength of a Bailey walk, a single by Kelly, a balk, and a McGehee two-run single to cap their 9-1 win.