Tigers topple Spring Hill 5-2

Friday, April 17, 2015
Marshall County pitcher Stuart Warner throws out Spring Hill's Andy Hale at first base in the top of the second inning after fielding a bunt. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Junior pitcher Stuart Warner helped stop the Marshall County Tigers' slide down the District 12-AA standings, as he tossed a complete game on Wednesday night to lead MCHS to a 5-2 win over first place Spring Hill at home.

Having lost their last four District games, which included a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Spring Hill the previous evening, Marshall County held a 2-1 lead through the first four and a half innings of Wednesday's contest before pushing across three runs in the bottom of the fifth to open up a 5-1 advantage.

Raiders stopped

The Tigers (9-12, 3-5 District) then had to stave off a Spring Hill rally attempt in the top of the seventh that saw the Raiders (16-5, 6-2 District) leave the bases loaded en route to earning a split in the season series.

"Right now we've still got two big District games and everybody has to play everybody else so we don't know where we're going to finish," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "Winning this game sends a message because we should have won last night's game too. If we end up in Spring Hill's bracket, they know we can beat them."

Despite having to overcome four errors by his defense, Warner managed to pick up his third win of the season and yielded two runs, one earned, over seven innings on seven hits and a walk to go along with five strikeouts.

Tough battle

"Stuart hung in there. He threw his fastball more than normal, but we started to pitch them backwards when they started to catch up to it," said Reese. "They're a tough crowd over there, but he kept his composure."

The Tigers, meanwhile, finished with nine hits against two Raider hurlers. Ethan Poteete went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI to lead Marshall County's offensive attack. Dunn Crowder tallied two hits for MCHS as well, while Lane Whitesell (1 RBI), Jay Howard (1 RBI), Cameron Isley, Chandler Harmon, and Madison Peete each had one hit.

Raider starting pitcher Gage Gillian suffered the loss after yielding four runs over four and a third innings on seven hits and two walks. Brycen Thomas notched two hits and a RBI to pace Spring Hill at the plate.

The Tigers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Harmon belted a two-out triple before scoring on the play thanks to a throwing error by Raider left fielder Andrew Hardison.

Tigers escape

Spring Hill had a chance to do some damage in the top of the second after loading the bases with two outs thanks to a Thomas single, a walk, and an error, but Warner retired Hunter Whitwell on a fielder's choice to escape the jam.

Marshall County's Chandler Harmon races towards third base after hitting a triple in the bottom of the first inning. Harmon eventually scored on the play thanks to a Spring Hill throwing error.

In the bottom of the second, Marshall County tacked on another run to stretch their lead to 2-0. Following a leadoff walk by Warner, courtesy runner Ethan Evans advanced to second on a Poteete sacrifice bunt before Howard laced a RBI single into right centerfield.

The Raiders narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the top of the fifth on a RBI groundout by Taylor Warwick, but the Tigers quickly counterpunched and crossed home plate three times in the bottom half of the frame on the strength of a Whitesell RBI double and a two-run single by Poteete to forge a 5-1 advantage.

Things got dicey for Marshall County in the top of the seventh, as Spring Hill scored a run with the help of three MCHS errors to cut the deficit to 5-2 and still had the bases loaded with two outs. Warner finally snuffed out the Raider rally attempt by striking out Andy Hale to end the game.