Bombers bounce back
Rain delayed the opening of the 14 year-old Babe Ruth District Tournament at Lewisburg until Sunday when the Marshall County Bombers came up with a big 17-3 victory against defending champion Lawrence County in the first round.
"Dustin Brashear started the game and pitched well and we came in and hit the ball well and jumped on them pretty good," Marshall County manager Greg Bradford said of the win shortened to five innings by the mercy rule. "It was a good win, everybody put the bat on the ball all the way through the lineup."
Lack of numbers
Having to play two games on Sunday, the Bombers took on longtime rival Giles County and when those two clubs meet, anything can happen.
Having just nine players, Marshall County seemed well on its way to another run-rule win when the minimum amount of players cost them a victory.
Leading 4-1 in the fourth inning and in the middle of a huge rally, Jaylen Smith ran into the Giles County catcher and was ejected from the contest for not sliding at home plate.
"They said Jaylen came in the wrong way and the umpire ejected him," Bradford said. "Jaylen is a smart kid, he just made a mistake, but I don't think he'll make that mistake again."
The Bombers weren't allowed to finish the contest with eight players per Babe Ruth rules and the game was forfeited to Giles County, sending Marshall County to the losers' bracket.
"That was the danger of playing with nine players, you never know what's going to happen, an injury or something like that," Bradford said.
On Monday, three additional players returned from prior commitments, giving the Bombers some breathing room.
"I told the kids, I don't think there's a team out here better than you, forget about that Giles County game," Bradford said. "Keep your heads up, they got a freebie, we just have to take them one at a time, but we will get there."
The Bombers had a short memory indeed.
Marshall County starting pitcher Hunter Haurez jump-started the contest against Tullahoma, striking out the side in the top of the first inning.
In the home half of the inning, the Bombers erased all the bad memories from Sunday, sending 12 batters to the plate to score eight runs.
"That was big," the coach said. "I wanted to see us get a big jump on them, so I could get some other pitchers some work and save our aces."
Smith, the league's leading hitter in the regular season had two hits in the inning, including a two-run double.
Haurez also helped his own cause, driving in a run with a double, while Walker Whaley added an RBI single in the rally.
Haurez set down the side in order in the top of the second, striking out two more Tullahoma batters.
Ethan Mealer and Cameron Burrow drove home one run apiece for Marshall County in the bottom of the second inning, making it 10-0.
Gauge Anderson took over for Haurez in the top of the third inning and after retiring the first two Tullahoma batters, Jackson Dalton blooped a base hit to right field. Anderson got a ground ball out to end the inning .
The Bombers tacked on three more runs in the home half of the inning on a Smith double, a Haurez sacrifice fly and a wild pitch that scored Caleb Crowell from third base.
Anderson allowed one more base runner in the top of the fourth on a walk, but retired the next two, sending the game to the bottom of the fourth.
Marshall County did not score in the inning and in the top of the fifth, Austin Grubbs struck out two out of the three batters he faced to finish off Tullahoma.
"Everybody had their heads up and came in and played ball tonight," Bradford said. "It was good to get everybody in and see who the nine starters will be versus Lawrence County."
Marshall County played Lawrence County Tuesday night and the tournament continues through Thursday with the district title game slated for 6 p.m.
"We'll be ready for them," Bradford said. "The kids are ready and if we keep the bats going, we will be fine. We're deep in pitching, three or five through."
Tullahoma 000 00-013
Marshall County 823 0 x-13 9 0
Tullahoma: Jackson Dalton 1-for-1.
Marshall County: Jaylen Smith 3-for-3, Cameron Burrow 2-for-2, Hunter Haurez 1-for-1, Walker Whaley 1-for-2, Ethan Mealer 1-for-2, Caleb Crowell 1-for-3.
RBI: Smith 3, Haurez 2, Burrow 2, Mealer 1.
WP: Hunter Haurez
LP: Ethan Sweeten