After opening the season with a pair of home wins over Lewis County and Columbia Central, the Marshall County Tigers finished up the three-game home stand versus 3A Ravenwood Monday night at Joe George Field in Lewisburg.
It was a topsy turvy contest as the Tigers fell behind early, caught up, and fell behind again before sending the game to extra innings where they lost 5-4 on a mix up on a pop fly in the infield in the top of the ninth inning.
“Our guys never quit, they kept battling, we were always one pitch away from tying the game,” MCHS coach Mike “Monk” Reese said. “At this point of the year, our third game of the year playing this caliber of a team and trying to get ready for our district schedule next week, I’m not completely unsatisfied.”
“We made some defensive mistakes and some of that is youth and some of it is not, but we will handle that and I’m real proud of the kids of the way they played and obviously we really wanted to pull that one out.”
The Tigers had plenty of chances to score a lot more runs as they left the bases loaded three times and stranded 14 runners on base in the contest.
“It goes back early in the first five innings, you can’t leave men on base,” Reese said. “I know we left the bases loaded three times and when you get those opportunities when the score is 1-1, you have to put the ball in play to make something happen right there and when you do that, you may not be going to the eighth and ninth inning.”
Carson Cheek started on the mound for the Tigers and tossed five innings of two-hit ball, giving up one earned run while striking out five and walking three Raptors’ batters.
“I thought Cheek did an outstanding job,” Reese said. “His pitch count at this point in the year is up in the 70’s and that is good enough for now, I want it to be more in district play and late April and May and we will go up more with him.”
Cheek’s only two safeties surrendered came on the first two batters of the game as Ben Severence doubled to left/center field leading off the contest, stole second and went to third on a base hit by Blake Bevis before scoring on a Marshall County infield error.
Cheek did not give up a run or a hit for the next four innings before being replaced by Logan McKnight in the top of the sixth inning.
The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the third inning without a hit as John Morgan Thomas walked to lead off the frame and Christian Hammons sacrificed bunted him to second base.
After a fly out to left field, Cheek walked and Ravenwood made a pitching change.
A passed ball moved both runners up before Trey Warner drew a base on balls to load the sacks and JW Beasley followed with an RBI walk to tie the game at 1-1.
Cheek tossed a 1-2-3 top of the fourth inning and the Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the home half of the inning as Ryan Kirby led off with a base hit and took second on a walk to Tristan Griggs before Thomas singled to left to drive in Kirby, making it 2-1.
Cheek escaped a bases loaded two-out jam in the top of the fifth inning and the Tigers failed to score in the home half of the frame.
McKnight came to the hill in the top of the sixth inning and Thomas Cooper nailed a one-out single to left field and after a fly out for the second out, Nic Raum laced a ball down the left field and Cooper raced home with the tying run on a bobble.
Ravenwood hurler Lucas Kocian, who had come on in the fourth inning, set down the Tigers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh inning, Severence reached on a bloop hit to left field and stole second base.
Bevis followed with an RBI single and one out later, Bevis crossed home plate on an Andrew Dudas RBI double to make it 4-2 contest.
Caleb McElhaney led off the bottom of the inning with a base hit and after a strikeout, Warner laced a double to the center field fence, putting Tiger runners on second and third when Beasley grounded a ball between third and short where the Ravenwood third sacker scooped it up, but was unsure where to throw the ball and Beasley reached first and McElhaney scored.
Warner went to third on the play and came home with the tying run on a sacrifice fly RBI by Peyton Graves that sent the game to extra innings.
There was no scoring in the eighth inning and with one down in the top of the ninth inning, Dudas and Ryan Augustini drew back-to-back bases on balls off Hammons, who had come in for McKnight in the top of the eighth inning.
Hammons whiffed the next batter and looked like he would get out of the jam when a routine infield pop-up was misplayed, allowing Dudas to come home with the go-ahead run.
“McKnight came in and did a good job, he did what he was supposed to, we just didn’t make a few plays behind him,” Reese said. “And Hammons came in and he was a little up and down, but he can really help us with his velocity and that is what he is there for to be a closer for us.”
“In all three of our ballgames our pitching staff has been wonderful and we have gotten men on base and just not got that timely hit that we have to get, but they are going to, they are going to.”
In the bottom of the ninth, three straight ground ball outs by MCHS ended the game.
Ravenwood 100 001 201-5 8 2
Marshall County 001 100 200-4 6 3
Ravenwood: Blake Bevis 2-for-4, Thomas Cooper 2-for-5, Ben Severence 2-for-4, Andrew Dudas 1-for-4, Nic Raum 1-for-4.
BB: Raum 2, Bevis, Dudas, Ryan Augustini, Austin Johnson.
RS: Severence, Bevis, Dudas, Cooper.
2B: Raum, Severence, Dudas.
RBI: Bevis 2, Raum, Cooper, Miles Denton.
SAC: Tyler Petro.
ROE: Severence, Denton.
SB: Severence, Johnson.
Team LOB: 12
E: Raum, Cooper.
WP: Lucas Kocian (6IP, 2H, 2R, 0ER, 3K, 1BB).
Starting Pitcher: Jack Wilson (2.2IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 4K, 6BB).
Middle Relief Jake Kreider (.1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0K, 2BB).
Marshall County: Peyton Graves 1-for-3, Ryan Kirby 1-for-3, John Morgan Thomas 1-for-3, Caleb McElhaney 1-for-5, Trey Warner 1-for-4, JW Beasley 1-for-3.
BB: Kirby 3, Thomas 2, Tristan Griggs, Carson Cheek, Warner, Beasley.
RS: Kirby, Thomas, McElhaney, Warner.
RBI: Graves, Beasley, Thomas.
SAC: Christian Hammons.
HBP: Graves, Griggs.
Team LOB: 14
E: McElhaney 2, Beasley.
LP: Christian Hammons (1.2IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 3K, 4BB).
Starting Pitcher: Carson Cheek (5IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 5K, 3BB).
Relief: Logan McKnight (2IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 0K, 0BB).
Relief: Caleb McElhaney (.1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB).
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