All-stars hang tough in first World Series appearance

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Marshall County all-stars line up at opening ceremonies in Lawrenceburg on Thursday night.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Babe Ruth League’s 15-year old all-stars knew they had their work cut out for them at the World Series as part of the 10 best teams in the country that met in Lawrenceburg, beginning on Thursday.

The fans stand for the National Anthem at Thursday night’s opening ceremonies.

“People have to understand that we competed with the nine best teams in the country, I’m not ashamed of any of it,” Marshall County manager Mike Mills said. “The level of play and size of the cities that they have is hard for us to compete with.”

“They have 1,500 kids to pick from, we had to beg to get 11 kids and they had to cut kids, that’s the difference.”

Marshall County’s Jake Singleton accepts the participation plaque from the Babe Ruth leaders at opening ceremonies Thursday night.

After a gala opening ceremony on Thursday night at Bobby Brewer Park, Marshall County took on the SE Region champions from Orlando, Florida.

Orlando routed Marshall County 20-2 in the SE Region Tournament at Greenville, North Carolina, but this time the Marshall County squad hung tough.

Orlando starter Cade Nelson pitched hitless ball through the first three inning until Grubbs and Colton Barber banged back-to-back, two-out singles in the top of the fourth inning.

Blake Aldridge walked to load the bases, but a diving catch on a line drive off the bat of Jake Singleton ended the rally.

Austin Grubbs started on the mound for the Marshall County all-stars in their first game Thursday night versus Orlando.

Starting pitcher Austin Grubbs was backed by some timely defense over the first three innings before Orlando scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead.

Marshall County went down 1-2-3 in the fifth and sixth innings and Matthew McCormick came in for Grubbs and tossed a scoreless bottom of the fourth, but a leadoff home run by Jason Scott in the bottom of the sixth set the stage for five-run inning and a 6-0 Orlando lead heading to the final stanza.

Barber whacked a leadoff single and Preston Shelton was hit by a pitch before Orlando relief pitcher Mason Paine retired the next three Marshall County batters in a row to end the game.

Friday’s games were washed out and Marshall County took on Tri-Valley, California in the first of two games on Saturday.

Walker Whaley looks to first base before firing a pitch to the plate versus California on Saturday.

The west coast squad jumped on Tennessee early, scoring four runs in the first, one in the second and two more in the third inning for an easy 8-1 win.

Walker Whaley, Spence Oliver, Zach Graves and Barber all had one hit apiece for Marshall County with Whaley scoring the only run on a rundown play in the bottom of the sixth inning.

In Saturday’s nightcap versus Newton, Connecticut the Marshall County bats finally came alive as they put up four first inning runs on a McCormick two-run single and a pair of RBI base knocks by Grubbs and Barber.

“We came out and started hitting the baseball and we put pressure on the defense and it all went well,” Mills said.

Marshall County starting pitcher Zach Graves kept Newtown at bay, taking a 4-3 lead to the top of the fourth inning when his teammates put up another four-spot on the board to take an 8-3 lead.

Zach Graves, who picked up the win on the mound versus Newtown on Saturday, takes a big cut against New Jersey.

Graves helped his own cause with a two-run double and Barber knocked in his second run of the game.

Newtown came back in the home half of the inning, scoring three runs to cut the Marshall County lead to 8-6 with the big blow coming on a Todd Peterson two-run single.

Whaley tossed two scoreless innings in relief and Marshall County added another run in the top of the seventh when Aldridge scored from third base on a wild pitch.

Whaley walked the first batter in the bottom of the seventh before striking out the next batter for the first out.

Mark Leonardi stroked a base hit and Walker was relieved on the mound by Shelton, who recorded back-to-back groundouts to end the game and keep Marshall County alive in the pool play round.

Marshall County third-baseman Colton Barber comes up with a foul ball fly out versus New Jersey.

Sunday’s game versus West Windsor, New Jersey was do-or-die for Marshall County if they wanted to advance to bracket play, but the east coast squad put a damper on the day as they put up six first inning runs and cruised to an easy 11-3 win.

Preston Shelton hurls a pitch to the plate versus New Jersey.

“I really expected the same effort today as last night, but we got off to that bad start in the first inning and never got it back in gear,” Mills said. “When you give up six runs in the first inning it’s really tough to come back.”

Spence Oliver went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in Marshall County’s final game at the Babe Ruth World Series in Lawrenceburg.

Spence Oliver went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and knocked in two out the three runs, while Shelton (RBI) and Austin Grubbs had two hits apiece.

Matthew Fuller strokes a pinch-hit single versus New Jersey.

Colton Barber and Matthew Fuller had one base knock apiece in the game for Marshall County.

“Overall, the boys put up a real good effort,” said Mills. “Unfortunately, we were one of the teams that drew four straight days.”

“Making the pitchers legal to pitch is OK, but I just don’t think there is enough recovery time there and I think that’s what we ran in to.”

Pool Play Final Standings (3-out-of-5 teams in each division advance to bracket play)

American

Lawrenceburg 4-0

Janesville, Wisconsin 2-2

Bismarck, North Dakota 2-2

Camas-Washougal, Washington 1-3

Meridian, Mississippi 1-3

National

Tri-Valley, California 4-0

West Windsor, New Jersey 3-1

Orlando, Florida 2-2

Marshall County 1-3

Newtown, CT 0-4

Thursday, August 10

Marshall County 000 000 0-0 3 4

Orlando 000 105 X-6 5 1

Marshall County: Colton Barber 2-for-3, Austin Grubbs 1-for-2

BB: Preston Shelton, Walker Whaley, Blake Aldridge, Grubbs

HBP: Jake Singleton

ROE: Matthew Fuller

E: Zach Graves 2, Grubbs, Shelton

LP: Austin Grubbs (4IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 3K, 3BB), Matthew McCormick (1.2IP, 5R, 4ER, 0K, 4BB), Spence Oliver (.1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 0BB)

Orlando: Darryl Torres 1-for-2, Jason Scott 1-for-2, Cade Nelson 1-for-2, Owen Ayers 1-for-3, Mason Paine 1-for-1

RS: Scott 2, Nelson, Paine, Brandon Yonker

RBI: Torres, Scott, Yonker, Nelson

E: Alec Boot-Handford

WP: Cade Nelson

Saturday, August 12

Tri-Valley, California 412 010 1-9 16 1

Marshall County 000 001 0-1 4 2

Tri-Valley: Jaden Sheppard 4-for-4, Luke Palfalvi 3-for-4, Trevor Jackson 2-for-5, Joey Battilega 2-for-5, Brad Courture 2-for-4, Cory Steinhauer 1-for-5, Matt Sugden 1-for-4, Demetre Aaron 1-for-2

RBI: Sheppard 2, Battilega, Steinhauer, Palfalvi, Sugden, Courture, Aaron

WP: Troy Nassar

Marshall County: Walker Whaley 1-for-2, Spence Oliver 1-for-3, Zach Graves 1-for-3, Colton Barber 1-for-3

RS: Whaley

2B: Oliver

SAC: Jake Singleton

LP: Spence Oliver

Saturday, August 12

Marshall County 400 400 1-9 8 1

Newtown, CT 120 300 0-6 4 1

Marshall County: Zach Graves 2-for-3, Colton Barber 2-for-4, Preston Shelton 1-for-4, Spence Oliver 1-for-5, Matthew McCormick 1-for-2, Austin Grubbs 1-for-2

RBI: McCormick 2, Graves 2, Barber 2, Grubbs

RS: Whaley 2, McCormick 2, Graves 2, Shelton, Oliver, Blake Aldridge

2B: Graves, Grubbs

HBP: Shelton, McCormick

BB: Walker Whaley 3, Grubbs 2, Fuller

SAC: Jake Singleton

WP: Zach Graves

Newtown: Daniel Mason 1-for-3, Todd Peterson 1-for-3, Bryan Vander Have 1-for-4, Mark Leonardi 1-for-3

RBI: Peterson 2, Michael Cotton

RS: Mason 2, Joseph Pagett2, Leonardi, Cotton

LP: Joseph Pagett

Sunday, August 13

West Windsor, NJ 601 300 1-11 11 1

Marshall County 100 011 0-3 9 5

West Windsor: Luke Potts 3-for-3, Joshua Eisenberg 2-for-4, Ian Muni 1-for-4, William Raeter 1-for-2, Jack Dileo 1-for-3, Justin Lockwood 1-for-4, Andrew Santa Maria 1-for-4, Sean Hodges 1-for-2

RBI: Eisenberg 2, Potts, Muni, Dileo, Lockwood, Christopher Bluni, Santa Maria

RS: Dileo 3, Potts 2, Eisenberg 2, Hodges 2, Muni, Raeter

2B: Potts, Muni, Eisenberg, Lockwood

WP: Luke Potts

Marshall County: Spence Oliver 3-for-3, Preston Shelton 2-for-4, Austin Grubbs 2-for-3, Colton Barber 1-for-4, Matthew Fuller 1-for-2

RBI: Oliver 2, Shelton

RS: Shelton 2, Grubbs

BB: Grubbs

2B: Grubbs

SAC: Oliver

LP: Austin Grubbs