Shelbyville Post 23 eliminates Mudcats
After posting a 2-2 record in pool play, the Middle Tennessee Mudcats were knocked out of the Tullahoma Classic when they dropped a 5-2 decision to Shelbyville Post 23 on Sunday afternoon at Tullahoma High School in the semifinals of the tournament.
Shelbyville starting pitcher Kalen Thompson turned in a strong performance on the mound and tossed a four-hitter while issuing four walks and racking up 10 strikeouts en route to earning the win
Ryan Yelensky, Alex Brewer, Tanner Garvin, and Kennedy Mathis each tallied one hit to pace the Mudcats at the plate.
Middle Tennessee starting hurler Seth Wyse suffered the loss, but turned in an admirable effort, as he limited Post 23 to six hits and two walks in the contest while recording seven strikeouts.
Cornersville High School product Cody Blackburn did the most damage at the plate for Shelbyville and went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Catcher Trent Layman also added a double and 2 RBI for Post 23, while Jonathan Pearson (1 RBI), Taylor Paschal, and Austyn Cooper all singled.
Shelbyville got their offense cranked up in the top of the second and crossed home plate five times in the frame to grab a 5-0 lead.
After Chris Kleeman drew a leadoff walk and stole second, Blackburn reached base on an infield single. Pearson then plated Kleeman with a RBI single before Blackburn scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Following a bunt single by Paschal, Pearson came home on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Nave while Nave reached second base on the play thanks to a Mudcat throwing error. Layman then drove in Paschal and Nave with a two-run double to cap the scoring in the inning.
Middle Tennessee mounted an immediate response and plated two runs in the bottom of the second to narrow the gap to 5-2. Garvin drew a leadoff walk before scoring on a single by Yelensky and a Post 23 throwing error, while Yelensky reached third base on the play. After Mathis drew a walk to put runners on first and third, Yelensky raced home when Mathis was thrown out at second base on a steal attempt.
The Mudcats had another chance to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth after putting runners on second and third thanks to a Jesse Pruitt walk, a hit batsman, and a wild pitch, but Thompson fanned the next Middle Tennessee batter to escape the inning unscathed.
Wyse then worked around a one-out double by Blackburn in the top of the sixth before the Mudcats left runners on the corners in the bottom half of the frame.
After Shelbyville stranded a man at second in the top of the seventh, Middle Tennessee had one final opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the inning when they put runners on first and second with one out on a Mathis single and a Post 23 error.
Thompson, however, bore down and struck out the next two Mudcat hitters to wrap up the victory for Shelbyville.