Powerhouse CPA completes sweep over Tigers
As if having the defending 2A state champion (Spring Hill) isn't hard enough to deal with, Marshall County finished the second of a two-game series against 2A runner-up and 2015 state champion CPA on Tuesday night.
Behind the strong arm and hot bat of Brayden Gentry, the Tigers took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the third and a 3-2 lead into the fourth before the Lions took the lead in the fifth inning and went on to win 11-3 following a five-run seventh.
"We started out pretty hot right there and scored a couple of runs and put a little pressure on them," MCHS coach Mike "Monk" Reese said. "We had good pitching going, but they made a couple of nice plays and we made a few mistakes and they kept pecking away and next thing you know they've tied it up."
Gentry controlled the Lions for the better part of five innings with five strikeouts and four earned runs while delivering two runs batted in, giving the Tigers an early 3-0 lead.
"I started off pretty good," Gentry said. "We actually jumped ahead in the first inning. And we had a few mishaps in the field that kind of bothered me a little bit, but I tried to come back from it.”
“They're a good ball club. They hit the ball well and they do everything they need to do and we just didn't."
The Tigers struck first in the opening inning when Jay Lyons advanced to first after being hit by a pitch and Thomas Hawkins and Nathan Derryberry drew walks to load the bases with two outs.
Gentry helped his own cause with a double into right center field to bring home Lyons and Hawkins and when a wild throw soared over the third baseman's head, Derryberry trotted home for a 3-0 lead.
The Lions closed the gap in the third when Phillip Clark drilled a two-out double into center field to bring the score to 3-2, but Gentry got Cooper Reynolds to go down swinging and leave the tying run stranded on third base.
Brett McGehee started out the bottom of the third inning with a walk, but Lions’ pitcher Lane Harris settled down to strike out the next three batters to end the inning.
In the fourth inning, the Tigers made an error and Jackson Lewis brought the run home with a double to left field to tie the game at 3-3.
Marshall County finally surrendered its lead following a three-run fifth inning with a Harris RBI single, followed by two consecutive Lions stealing home to take a 6-3 lead.
The Tigers picked up its last hit of the night on an Austin Woods single into right field, before Lyons popped up to second and McGehee hit a grounder to first base, followed by a throw to second to catch Woods in a double-play.
"I think most people just weren't picking the ball up as good as they could have," Gentry. "He started getting into his rhythm about the second or third inning, really throwing it. Getting his pitches where he needed to be, locating. And when we hit the ball it was right to somebody."
Hunter Haurez took over in the sixth inning and struck out all three batters he faced, but the Tigers came up empty on the offensive side of things and went into the final inning down three runs.
The bottom fell out during the Lions end of the seventh as CPA scored five runs to all but end any hope of a Tiger comeback and CPA headed back to Nashville with the 11-3 win.
The Tigers look to get back on track with a trip to Hohenwald to take on Lewis County on Thursday night before returning home with a game against Ardmore (AL) on tonight.