Tigers complete sweep over Pats with 5-2 win
The Page Patriots (1-9, 1-5) and the MCHS Tigers took a little time to warm up before going forth with the second game of a doubleheader, featuring Patriot ace and MTSU commitment Payton Wiggington and Tiger pitcher Nathan Derryberry, who picked up a tough win over a strong Tullahoma team on Friday.
Derryberry got the best against the Patriot pitcher, getting out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the first inning and going five scoreless innings, before being replaced by Brett McGehee in the sixth as the Tigers (4-5, 2-4) won 5-2 to pick up their fourth win in a row.
"Again, second ballgame, I think we had some good pitching and we made plays behind (Derryberry)," Tiger coach Mike “Monk” Reese said. "We got a couple opportune runs. I think we might have gotten their pitcher rattled a little bit or actually he rattled himself. And that helped."
"He's an outstanding pitcher," Reese added. "Division one pitcher going to MTSU. Two great ballgames, two big district wins, so you've got to be happy about it. I'm very proud for these kids and proud for our team right now."
Thomas Hawkins turned in another stellar game at the plate, going 3-for-4, including an RBI single to give Marshall County the lead for good in the top of the first inning.
"We've been struggling to hit the ball the first few games and it finally came together and I think we're really starting to hit the baseball," Hawkins, who also picked up an RBI in the first game, said. "We're seeing things a little better and I think we're playing as a team."
After gaining an early 1-0 lead on Hawkins’ RBI single, the Patriots looked ready to blow the game wide open as Derryberry gave up a Cole Giles single before walking the next two batters.
But Marshall County set the tone for the game when Derryberry struck out the clean-up batter, Wiggington, and forced Nick Spargoni into a line out to left field, followed by a Hunter Haurez line drive throw to the plate to end the inning with a tag on Giles, trying to score the tying run on a tag-up from third.
Austin Woods came up big for the Tigers in the second inning, dropping a single in between the first and second basemen to score Brayden Gentry and Preston Shelton for a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers scored two insurance runs in the fifth inning for a 5-0 lead, before Derryberry handed the reins over to McGehee for the rest of the ballgame.
McGehee gave up one run in the sixth inning, but was able to get out of a jam when Giles grounded out to second to end the frame with the Patriots leaving runners stranded at second and third base.
The senior pitcher got two outs in the seventh, before Spargoni hit an RBI single to score the second run of the game, but Christian Tidmore ended the game with a lineout to centerfield.
"You stay in this game long enough, lots of things can happen in the game of baseball," Reese said. "We started off with a really good Spring Hill team that's still undefeated and then we turn around and lose two games by one run."
"And then we started playing," Reese continued. "But the big thing was our bats came alive at opportune times and the first five ballgames we had 13 hits. 13 hits in five ballgames, you usually don't win the games. That's the biggest difference right now, we're swinging the bats."
The Tigers take their four-game winning streak into a home contest against 3A Lincoln County on Thursday before taking to the road for a match-up with Tullahoma on Friday.