Surely you remember that overtime buzzer-beater that kept the Marshal basketball team from moving on to the state tournament back in March? Such is the kind of thing on which fierce rivalries are constructed.
The latest step in the growing of this conflict is a potential Region 1 tournament showdown between the two schools’ baseball and softball teams.
The clashes could very well take place today, depending on how first-round play turned out on Memorial Day.
In softball, the Lady Marshals’ “reward” for a District 4 softball championship pitted the Lady Marshals against one of the top teams. 23-6 Paducah Tilghman, in first-round play of the softball regional at Calloway County.
If the Lady Marshals were able to survive that 11 a.m. matchup against Tilghman, they would play the winner of the Graves County-Hickman County first-round contest.
The Lady Marshals had a pair of one-run games against Graves, winning 14-13 and falling 9-8. They did not play Hickman County.
If they get through the first two rounds, they will more than likely get the best team, McCracken County, which beat Tilghman for the District 2 title, in Wednesday’s championship.
McCracken is the No. 1-ranked team in the state, and owns two victories over Marshall County in regular-season play.
On the baseball side, McCracken and Marshall had the best records in the region going into the tournament at Brooks Stadium.
A meeting today depended on the Mustangs getting past a relatively formidable opponent, Ballard Memorial, and the Marshals defeating Hickman County in Monday’s first-round games.
The Marshals took a 25-9 record against District 1 runner-up Hickman, 9-19, in the finale of the four opening-round games.
McCracken, on the other hand, faced a region opponent it had not played this year in the Bombers, who came in with a 22-12 mark, fourth-best in the region.
The Mustangs, 28-8, topped Paducah Tilghman and St. Mary to win the District 2 title. Ballard was whipped 10-0 by the region’s third-best team, Graves County, 10-0 in the District 3 tourney championship.
During the regular season, McCracken took a 7-1 victory at Marshals Field in the only meeting of the season between the two teams.
Hickman County lost a heartbreaker to Carlisle County, 9-8, in the District 1 championship game.
Winners of the Carlisle-Calloway County and Graves-St. Mary games will meet in today’s first semifinal game at 5 p.m.
The second semi is scheduled for 7:30.
In softball, semifinals are at 3 and 5 p.m.
The championship games will be played Wednesday, with the first pitch scheduled at 6 p.m.
The Lady Mustangs have been labeled as the state’s best ever since the merging of three of western Kentucky’s elite high school softball programs.
They won an 8-2 victory over Marshall County in Paducah on April 17 and took an 11-0 win at Draffenville May 5.
The Lady Mustangs were to meet Calloway County, the team the Lady Marshals defeated in the District 4 championship game, in the first game of Monday’s afternoon session.
Marshall County was slated to open first-round play against Paducah Tilghman, which lost three times to McCracken County, including a 12-2 setback in the District 2 championship game and back-to-back 10-0 and 11-0 thumpings on May 8 and 10.
There are many innings to be played, some of them already done by the time you read this. The Marshall-McCracken showdowns may or may not come to pass.
But it is a safe bet that the rivalry between the two schools will continue to escalate, regardless. n