Bombers strafe opponents
Three straight wins send team to district tourney finals
The Marshall County Bombers' vow to avenge a mental error that led to their only loss in the Babe Ruth League District 9 tournament at Lewisburg came to fruition as the talented 14U crew battled back to earn a spot in the Thursday's championship.
"I told them we would get back there, now we are done to one game," said Marshall County manager Greg Bradford, whose team met Franklin County for the title. "They've worked hard and hopefully we will wrap it up and head to Cookeville.
The state tournament begins in Cookeville on July 17.
BOMBERS VS. LAWRENCE CO.
The Bombers won three games in a row to earn the chance for the district plaque, beginning with a 6-2 win over defending champion Lawrence County Tuesday night.
Marshall County was determined from the outset, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning with Walker Whaley keying the inning with a two-run double.
Ethan Mealer, the Pitcher of the Year in the Marshall County Babe Ruth League this season, was dominant early, retiring the first nine batters he faced.
Lawrence County finally broke through with a single run in the bottom of the fourth inning on a one-out RBI by Jace Ambrose before Mealer set down the next two batters to end the threat.
The Bombers gave Mealer two insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning to make it 6-1, but Lawrence County got one run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Keenan Ballinger.
Haurez came to the hill in the bottom of the seventh and closed the door with a 1-2-3 inning, including a pair of strikeouts to earn the save. Mealer allowed six hits, struck out 10, hit two Lawrence County batters and walked two.
"I knew Lawrence County was a good ball team. They have some good hitters and good pitchers," Bradford said. "We played good and got some great pitching and timely hits to win it."
BOMBERS VS. GILES CO.
If the Bombers wanted to stay alive they would have to win a doubleheader on Wednesday, beginning with a rematch against rival Giles County.
Giles County took an early 2-0 lead before Whaley's two-run double in the bottom of the second inning evened the contest.
In the top of the third, a series of strange events saw two Giles County runners thrown out on baserunning mistakes and it cost them dearly.
8 runs, 1 inning
In the home half of the inning, the Bombers put away the big betties and went small ball, scoring eight runs without an extra base hit.
Eight singles plus seven stolen bases in the frame had Giles County searching for a way to stop the onslaught that gave Marshall County a 10-2 lead.
"That shakes a team up when you start laying down bunts and (have) runners going everywhere. I think that tore them up a little bit," the Bombers' manager said.
Dylan Pendley set the tone for the inning when he led off with a single, stole second base and scored when the catcher's throw sailed into the outfield. The center fielder picked the ball and fired it in to the Marshall County dugout trying to get Pendley at third.
Twelve batters went to the plate for Marshall County with Caleb Crowell and Preston Shelton knocking in a run apiece, while Hunter Haurez and Whaley had two-run base hits.
Haurez, who had come to the mound to relieve Dustin Brashear with two outs in the first inning, surrendered a run-scoring single to Bryson Rolin in the fourth inning for his only blemish of the night.
Blake Distelow walked the first two batters he faced in the top of the fifth inning before 13-yea-old Austin Grubbs came on and set Giles County down 1-2-3.
"Grubbs came in closed well tonight, and Haurez is on fire. He's throwing the ball well," Bradford said.
Mitchell Ford and Haurez knocked in runs to end the run-rule win in the bottom of the inning.
BOMBERS VS. FRANKLIN CO.
In the nightcap at the Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Memorial Field, the Bombers needed a win over unbeaten Franklin County to stay alive and came through with a 12-2 decision shortened to five innings on the mercy rule.
Mealer started for Marshall County and pitched a scoreless inning before Grubbs took over in the second and struck out the side.
Grubbs helped his own cause in the bottom of the second, drilling a two-out, two-run double for a 2-0 win.
Haurez steps up
Grubbs lost the strike zone in the top of the third as he walked five batters which led to a tie game. Haurez came to the rescue again.
Haurez whiffed Caleb Lewis to end the inning, and in the bottom of the frame, the Bombers broke the game open with four runs on just two hits.
Haurez and Crowell had RBI in the inning, and Haurez pitched a scoreless fourth. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Pendley reached on a one-out error and Jaylen Smith followed with a base hit.
Brashear walked to load the bases for Haurez, who continued his sparkling play in the tournament with a two-run single to center field, making it 8-2.
Franklin County did not score in the top of the fifth, and the Bombers put a cap on the game with another four-spot in the bottom of the frame. The final blow came off the bat of Anderson, who drilled the game-winning hit up the middle.
Mealer, Grubbs and Haurez combined for a no-hitter on the mound, while Marshall County banged out 10 hits in the game.
Marshall County 310 002 0-6 8 1
Lawrence County 000 1010-2 6 3
Marshall County: Jaylen Smith 2-for-2, Dustin Brashear 2-for-3. Dylan Pendley 1-for-3, Hunter Haurez 1-for-3, Walker Whaley 1-for-3, Caleb Crowell 1-for-3.
RBI: Smith 1, Haurez 1, Whaley 1.
Lawrence County: Logan Coleman 2-for-4, Spencer Tidwell 1-for-4, Caden Howard 1-for-1, Hunter Jones 1-for-2, Keenan Ballinger 1-for-3.
RBI: Howard 2.
Giles County 200 10-3 5 3
Marshall County 028 12-13 15 2
Giles County: Skylar Tarpley 2-for-2, Colton Edmunson 1-for-1, Bryson Rolin 1-for-2, Kameron Edwards 1-for-2.
RBI: Edmunson 2, Rolin.
Marshall County: Dylan Pendley 2-for-4, Jaylen Smith 2-for-3, Hunter Haurez 2-for-4, Ethan Mealer 2-for-2, Caleb Crowell 2-for-2, Walker Whaley 2-for-3, Dustin Brashear 1-for-3, Preston Shelton 1-for-2, Mitchell Ford 1-for-3.
RBI: Haurez 3, Whaley 3, Crowell 1, Shelton 1, Ford 1.
LP: Tucker Duke
Franklin County 002 00- 2 0 4
Marshall County 024 24- 12 10 0
Franklin County RBI: Bracken Henson 1, Brandon Yarborough 1.
Marshall County: Jaylen Smith 2-for-3, Caleb Crowell 2-for-3, Dylan Pendley 1-for-2, Dustin Brashear 1-for-3, Hunter Haurez 1-for-1, Austin Grubbs 1-for-1, Joseph Freeland 1-for-1, Gauge Anderson 1-for-1.
RBI: Haurez 3, Grubbs 2, Brashear 1, Crowell 1, Anderson 1.
LP: JC Stephens