Tigers doubled up by Patriots in D12AA tourney
The Marshall County Tigers had the unenviable task of having to beat a surging Page squad for the third time this season to move on to the winner’s bracket of the 12AA District Tournament.
After starting off the season 1-11, including a pair of losses to the Tigers, the Patriots entered the tournament winners of seven of its last nine games before tacking on one more with a 12-6 win over Marshall County (13-13) on Saturday.
The Tigers took a 5-4 lead into the fifth inning before the Patriots (12-19) hung six runs on the blue and white to pull away for the tournament win.
"Well, we didn't get but five hits this ballgame and two of them came right there in that last inning," Tiger coach Mike "Monk" Reese said. "We had several opportunities early in the ballgame to put the game away at the plate and we didn't and they capitalized and they were able to hit our pitchers today."
Tiger pitcher Nathan Derryberry was able to control the Patriot batters through the first three innings as Marshall County took a 3-1 lead heading into the fourth inning, but Page finally made headway in the top of the frame to take a 4-3 lead behind three Patriot runs.
The Tigers battled back in the bottom of the fourth inning, loading the bases before Jay Lyons drew an RBI base on balls from Cole Bozeman to tie the contest back at 4-4.
Logan Bailey gave the home team the 5-4 lead after scoring on a Bozeman wild pitch, but MCHS did not take advantage of the loaded bases as Austin Wood lined out to Bozeman, who threw the ball to third for an inning ending double play.
The Patriots blew the contest wide open in the fifth inning as MTSU commitment Peyton Wigginton blasted a triple deep to the center field fence to re-tie the game at 5-5, followed by a Nick Spardone single on the left field line to give Page the 6-5 advantage before Derryberry walked Blake Schmidt and hit Bryson Stremler to load the bases.
Derryberry was replaced by Hunter Haurez, but the bleeding continued as Tyler Vernon dropped a single into left field to extend the lead to 7-5 before Cole Giles reached on an error on a bunt to score another run.
The Patriots added the final two runs of the inning on a fielder’s choice to second before Haurez got Ben Pickman to pop out to end the onslaught.
"When you get into the district tournament you've got to swing the bat a little bit better, especially if the other team is swinging the bat well," Reese added. "If their swinging, then you've got to swing it. And that happens sometimes, but we're still in it----we've got to hopefully recompose ourselves and be ready to roll on Monday."
Untimely sixth inning mistakes allowed the Patriots to further extend the lead as the first run scored on a wild pitch and a third base error allowed another run to cross the plate as the Tigers faced a seven run deficit heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Marshall County chipped away at the lead as Brayden Gentry started off the inning with a single before Jacob Autry and Lyons loaded up the bases with a pair of walks to set up a Wood single into right field to score Gentry, but pinch runner Cameron Burrow was called out at the plate attempting to trim the lead down to five.
Walker Whaley came on for the Tigers in the seventh and managed to shut down the Patriots in order, but the Marshall County bats once again came up empty and Page advanced to the second round of the winner’s bracket.
"They didn't pitch the same guys and we had a couple mistakes on defense and gave up a couple big hits," Tiger senior Brett McGehee said. "We didn't swing the bat like we ought to and we didn't score enough runs.”
“We've got to slow things down and let the game come to us. Hopefully we can keep playing and keep moving on. That's all we can do."
The Patriots continued its late season hot streak by upsetting the number one- seeded Lions from Christ Presbyterian Academy (22-8) on Sunday, forcing the Tigers into a win or go home contest with the 2016 AA state runner-up on Monday night at CPA.
"Maybe overall we didn't run the bases like we needed to, but again we were being aggressive," Reese stated. "When you're being aggressive you take chances and things happen especially when you're behind."
"Today it didn't work out as well as it sometimes does," Reese continued. "Other than that we've just got to come out and swing the bat. We've got to come out and play."
The Tigers were eliminated via an 8-1 loss at CPA on Monday.
Page 001 362 0- 12
Marshall County 003 201 0-6
WP: Cole Bozeman
LP: Nathan Derryberry