All-stars beat Bellevue in heated contest
The Marshall County 15-year old all-stars had a first round bye in the East Tennessee Babe Ruth State Tournament as Bellevue beat Lebanon 6-4 in Friday night’s opening round at the Jonathon D. Hollingsworth Field in Lewisburg.
On Saturday night, the hosts took on Bellevue and came away with a big 9-1 win that was full of drama, mostly of the non-baseball variety.
Marshall County took care of the on the field drama early, scoring one run in the first inning, three in the second, and one more in the fourth to open up a 5-1 lead.
Spence Oliver, who went 3-for-4 at the plate in the contest, knocked in the first run with an RBI double in the top of the first inning.
Starting hurler Preston Shelton was not up to his regular season form and struggled with his control, walking two batters in the bottom of the frame, but he was bailed out on a an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play turned by Walker Whaley, Oliver and Matthew McCormick at first base.
Shelton, who also went 3-for-4, ripped a two-run double in the top of the second inning and Whaley followed with a sacrifice fly RBI, putting Marshall County up 4-1.
In the bottom of the inning, Shelton walked Blake Provo and Marcus Anderson to start the stanza and a wild pitch moved both runners up to second and third.
Shelton came up with back-to-back strikeouts before he was replaced on the mound by Whaley.
A passed ball scored Provo, but Whaley got out of the inning with a grounder to Oliver at second base.
In the top of the third inning, Zack Graves was hit by a pitch with one out and scooted all the way to third base on an errant pickoff attempt.
McCormick drove in Graves with a fielder’s choice RBI to make it 5-1.
In the bottom of the inning, Whaley gave up back-to-back singles to Mason Bradley and Walker Russell before he got a pair of groundouts and the inning ended without Bellevue scoring when Graves gunned down Luke Cornelius on a steal attempt.
There was no scoring in the fourth inning and in the top of the fifth inning, Oliver banged a leadoff single and one out later, Graves was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game.
Graves attempted to steal second base but was thrown out and after the play, Graves had heated words with a Bellevue player.
The umpires stepped in and tried to calm Graves down, but to no vail as he walked off the field and made an obscene gesture toward the Bellevue stands.
Graves was immediately ejected and a few minutes later a ruckus broke out in the stands and the game was halted.
The Lewisburg police were called but nothing came of the incident.
Bellevue than proceeded to protest the game, but it was unaccepted by the umpires and the game resumed with McCormick flying out to end the inning.
The lefty McCormick came to the hill in the home half of the inning and after getting into a two-on, one-out jam, McCormick whiffed back-to-back Bellevue batters to escape the trouble.
Marshall County put the game away in the top of the sixth inning as Whaley knocked in two runs and Jake Singleton and Shelton came up with an RBI apiece in the frame as the home team increased its lead to 9-1.
McCormick held Bellevue in check in the bottom of the inning and Marshall County did not score in the top of the seventh, wasting a leadoff hit by McCormick.
Oliver was dominating in the bottom of the inning as he set down Bellevue 1-2-3 to end the game and send Marshall County to the state title game on Sunday.
Colton Barber went 3-for-4 at the dish in the contest, scored two runs and had three assists and one put out at third base for Marshall County.
The winner of East Tennessee state title will go to Greenville, NC for the Southeast Region Tournament next week and also has been awarded an at-large bid in the Babe Ruth World Series at Lawrenceburg, beginning on August 10.
Lebanon beat Bellevue 6-2 in the nightcap Saturday to advance to the state championship game versus Marshall County.
Marshall County 131 004 0-9 15 0
Bellevue 010 000 0-1 5 1
Marshall County: Preston Shelton 3-for-4, Walker Whaley 1-for-4, Spence Oliver 3-for-4, Austin Grubbs 1-for-4, Zack Graves 0-for-1, Matthew Fuller 0-for-1, Matthew McCormick 2-for-4, Colton Barber 3-for-4, Blake Aldridge 0-for-2, Jake Singleton 2-for-4
RS: Shelton 2, Barber 2, Singleton 2, Whaley, Graves, Aldridge
2B: Oliver, Shelton
RBI: Whaley 3, Shelton 2, McCormick, Singleton, Grubbs, Oliver
HBP: Graves 2
SB: Oliver, Shelton
DP: McCormick, Oliver, Whaley
WP: Preston Shelton (1.2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 2K, 4BB), Walker Whaley (2.1IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 0BB), Matthew McCormick (3IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 4K, 2BB)
Bellevue: William Sneed 1-for-3, Mason Bradley 2-for-2, Walker Russell 1-for-2, Luke Cornelius 0-for-2, Christopher Smith 1-for-2
BB: Russell, Cornelius, Smith, Blake Provo, Marcus Anderson, Brandon Collins
LP: Mason Bradley (2IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 0K, 1BB), Luke Cornelius (3.1IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 0K, 0BB), Blaise Roberts (0.2IP, 2H, 1R, 0Er, 0K, 0BB), Brantley Golczynski (1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 0BB)