Giles County swipes state title
Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry and boy oh boy did it painfully happen on Sunday as the defending 14-year old Babe Ruth state champion Marshall County Bombers came into this year's 15-year old tournament as heavy favorites to make it back to the SE Region Tournament with all signs pointing towards Union City for the Bombers.
Marshall County hosted the state tournament last weekend at Lewisburg and the Bombers shellacked Franklin 23-0 in the opening round Friday night before coming away with a tough fought 4-3 win over Giles County on Saturday, putting the Bombers just one win away from a return trip to the SE Region.
Pulaski came out of the loser's bracket, but had the taunting task of having to beat Marshall County twice in Sunday's championship round at the Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Field in Lewisburg.
The two teams had played close games the entire post-season, including a 2-1 win by Marshall County in the District title clash last week at Pulaski.
Giles County spoiled the dream season, winning both games on Sunday to claim the state championship.
"I am very disappointed, I knew we were the better team today," Marshall County manager Greg Bradford said. "This is one of the best all-star teams I have seen come through Marshall County in a long time. This was theirs to win, we did everything to do to let them win it, we were the better team, but just didn't play our game."
Giles County hurler Tucker Duke, who was the tough luck loser in that district title contest took the hill in Sunday's first game and pitched a gem, tossing all seven innings in a big 10-2 win by Pulaski.
Duke held the potent Bombers' offense hitless through four innings and scoreless until two meaningless runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Duke gave up five hits, walked two and struck out six Bombers in a game in which he kept Marshall County off balance the entire contest.
Giles County scored two runs off Marshall County starting pitcher Dustin Brashear in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single by Bryce Hagan and a bases loaded RBI base on balls by Tyler Garrett.
Marshall County catcher Caleb Crowell led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double to left field, but never advanced as Duke induced three straight ground ball outs to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, Dallan Harris walked and was sacrificed to second base on a bunt by Hagan.
Garrett came through with an RBI single to left field, putting the Bombers in a 3-0 hole.
Jaylen Smith led off the home half of the inning with a base hit for Marshall County before being erased on a 4-3 double play.
Brashear doubled to keep the inning going, but Duke got another grounder to end the Marshall County threat.
In the top of the seventh, Giles County exploded on offense, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs to put the home team in big trouble at 10-0.
Dylan Pendley tripled to lead off the bottom of the seventh and came home on a Devin Aydelott pinch hit ground rule double.
Aydelott scored on a Giles County error, but that was all the offense the Bombers would muster as Duke escaped the game with no further damage, setting up a winner-take-all state championship final.
Hunter Haurez took the mound for Marshall County and set down Giles County 1-2-3 in the first inning.
Ethan Mealer drew a one-out walk and Allante Watts came in to pinch run for Mealer.
Watts took off for second base and when the throw to try to get the speedster out at second flew into the outfield, Watts went to third base.
After Giles County starter Ben Peoples got the second out on a strikeout, Mitchell Ford walked and Dylan Pendley laid down a two-out bunt that scored Watts, making it 1-0.
Peoples beaned Crowell and then uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Pendley.
Walker Whaley garnered a base on balls to load the bases, but Peoples whiffed the next batter to end the inning.
In the top of the second, Giles County came back, scoring four runs with the big hit coming on a two-out, two-two run single by Lucas Johnson to make it a 4-2 ballgame.
The Bombers responded in the home half of the inning as Gauge Anderson and Smith drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, knocking Peoples off the mound.
Lefty Khalil Givens came to the hill for Pulaski and after a ground ball out, Brashear doubled to score a run and Ford tied the game on a fielder's choice RBI.
There was no scoring in the third inning, but Giles County came up with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth that was matched by a two-run homerun by Brashear in the bottom of the inning, making it a 6-6 contest, entering the fifth.
Mealer came on for Haurez in the sixth and did not allow a run, as did Givens in the bottom of the inning.
Mealer struck out Duke to begin the top of the sixth before the bottom fell out on the Bombers' title hopes.
Skylar Tarpley walked to lead off the inning and Johnson and Carmen hit back-to-back singles to load the bases.
No double play
When Seth Waters hit a slow bouncer back to the mound, it looked like Marshall County could possibly turn a double play, but the throw home for the force out went into the dirt and Tarpley scored, making it 7-6.
Johnson scored on a fielder's choice RBI by Givens and Carmen trotted home on another Marshall County error, giving Pulaski a 9-6 lead.
"When they got runners on by our mistakes, they made us pay for it," Bradford said. "When we walked one or two or made an error, their next guy would come up and hit one in the gap, we just couldn't get anything to go our way."
Givens set down the Bombers 1-2-3 in the home half of the inning and Giles County did not add any runs to its total in the top of the seventh off Ford, who came to hill for Mealer.
Two pop-ups to start the home half of the seventh inning was followed by a walk to Pendley, a single to left field by Grayson Whaley and a bloop base hit to left field that scored Pendley to keep the game alive with Bombers on first and third, but it was not to be as Givens secured the title, inducing a fly ball to center field to end the game.
"I'm pulling for them, they are representing the state of Tennessee, so you have to pull for them," Bradford said. "I know it's a big rivalry---Marshall County/Giles County---but they are representing our state, so you have to pull for them."
Giles County 000 201 7-10 12 2
Marshall County 000 200 0-2 5 3
Giles County: Skylar Tarpley 0-for-4, Lucas Johnson 1-for-3, Dylan Carmen 1-for-5, Seth Waters 1-for-3, Ben Peoples 2-for-4, Dallon Harris 1-for-3, Bryce Hagan 2-for-3, Tyler Garrett, 2-for-3, Tucker Duke 1-for-2, Khalil Givens 1-for-1
RS: Peoples 2, Harris 2, Johnson, Waters, Hagan, Garrett, Duke, Givens
2B: Johnson, Peoples, Hagan, Duke
RBI: Garrett 3, Peoples 2, Hagan 2, Carmen, Duke
BB: Johnson 2, Garrett 2, Tarpley, Harris, Hagan, Duke
FC RBI: Carmen
Marshall County: Jaylen Smith 1-for-4, Ethan Mealer 0-for-3, Dustin Brashear 1-for-3, Mitchell Ford 0-for-2, Dylan Pendley 1-for-3, Caleb Crowell 1-for-2. Walker Whaley 0-for-2, Hunter Haurez 0-for-4, Gauge Anderson 0-for-2, Allante Watts 0-for-1, Devin Aydelott 1-for-1
RS: Crowell, Aydelott
2B: Brashear, Crowell, Aydelott
BB: Ford, Grayson Whaley
WP: Tucker Duke (7IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K)
LP: Dustin Brashear (4.2IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 6BB, 3K), Grayson Whaley (1IP, 6H, 6R, 3ER, 0BB, 0K), Walker Whaley (.1IP, 0H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 0K)
Giles County 040 203 0-9 11 1
Marshall County 220 200 1-7 6 4
Giles County: Skylar Tarpley 1-for-4, Lucas Johnson 3-for-5, Dylan Carmen 3-for-4, Seth Waters 0-for-4, Ben Peoples 0-for-1, Dallon Harris 1-for-3, Bryce Hagan 2-for-3, Tyler Garrett 2-for-4, Tucker Duke 0-for-4, Khalil Givens 0-for-2
RS: Hagan 2, Garrett 2, Tarpley, Johnson, Carmen, Harris, Duke
RBI: Johnson 2, Carmen 2, Tarpley, Givens
BB: Tarpley, Hagan
FC RBI: Givens
Marshall County: Jaylen Smith 0-for-2, Ethan Mealer 0-for-3, Dustin Brashear 2-for-4, Mitchell Ford 0-for-3, Dylan Pendley 1-for-2, Caleb Crowell 0-for-1, Walker Whaley 1-for-3, Hunter Haurez 0-for-4, Gauge Anderson 1-for-2, Grayson Whaley 1-for-2
RS: Anderson 2, Mealer, Allante Watts, Brashear, Ford
RBI: Brashear 3, Ford, Pendley
BB: Pendley 2, Smith, Ford, Walker Whaley, Anderson
HBP: Mealer, Crowell
FC RBI: Ford
SB: Watts, Pendley, Anderson
WP: Khalil Givens (6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K)
LP: Ethan Mealer (2IP, 3H, 3R, 0ER, 1BB, 1K), Hunter Haurez (4IP, 8H, 6R, 1ER, 1BB, 3K), Mitchell Ford (1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 2K)