Marshall County’s baseball Marshals ran their winning streak to seven with five victories last week, four of them shutouts and the other by a 6-1 margin.
First-year coach Mike Johnson’s team won on the road, at home and in three games on a neutral field, in the Dinger Bats Wood Bat Classic at Graves County’s Eagle Field in Mayfield.
“We’ve been playing pretty well lately,” Johnson said. “Those games are enjoyable.”
The Marshals have won 10 of their last 11 since they struggled in a tournament in Lebanon, Tenn., last month, and are 12-5 going into this week’s action.
“Our pitchers did really well last week,” Johnson said. “They’re trusting their stuff and hitting their spots. When you’ve got confidence and hit your spots, you’re going to win a lot of ball games, and we proved that last week.”
Four games are on tap, including a pair of District 4 games with Calloway County. The Marshals visit Calloway today at 7 p.m. and the Lakers visit Draffenville on Thursday for a 5 p.m. game. The games will be the first league contests for both teams.
The district competition will earn an automatic berth in the Region 1 tourney for the regular-season champion, which will get a bye in the three-team district tournament.
Calloway’s record is an unimpressive 5-10, but the Lakers have played some formidable competition at Daviess County’s Panther Classic, the Bowling Green-Warren County Invitational tournament and in a four-game swing through Tennessee.
“They lost some of their pitching” from last year’s 32-7 district and region championship team, Johnson said. “But they bring back a lot of their hitters. We’re throwing well and they’re a good hitting team, so that should be a good matchup.”
Also this week, Paducah Tilghman visits for a 5 p.m. game Friday. The Blue Tornado is off to a 12-4 start this season.
The fourth game this week will be a visit by Reidland on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Marshals won 15-4 over the Greyhounds in a March 25 game at Reidland. The Hounds are 5-9.
Next week, the Marshals have Tuesday-Thursday games against Murray to wrap up the district schedule and set the seeding for the district tourney the week of April 20.
Last week’s 5-0 record included a pair of victories over Crittenden County and wins over Mayfield, Winfield, Mo., and Trigg County.
Marshall Co. 9,
Crittenden Co. 0
At Marion on April 8, Hunter Jaco pitched five shutout innings, striking out four and giving up only three hits.
Dalton Morton led an 11-hit attack with a 4-for-4 effort with two RBI. Cody Clark had a double in a 2-for-4 performance, driving in three runs. Austin Johnson and Chase Bright were also 2-for-4.
Lake Henson pitched one inning of relief and Austin Johnson closed out the victory. The three MC pitchers gave up no walks
Crittenden starter Devin Belt struck out six, but walked seven and surrendered seven of the Marshals’ 11 hits. He also hit the first two batters he faced.
The Marshals combined those hit batters with a walk to load the bases, and then Clark drove in two runs with a single. Morton also had an RBI single as the visitors took a 4-0 lead.
Marshall County loaded the bases to open the fourth inning and then Devin Chambliss and Jaco got RBI-producing walks to push the lead to 6-0.
The Marshals finished out the game with single runs in the final three innings.
Marshall Co. 400 211 1 – 9 11 1
Crittenden 000 000 0 – 0 4 2
WP: Hunter Jaco LP: Devin Belt
Marshall Co. 10,
Wesley Neal pitched two perfect innings and struck out six in four innings as the Marshals built a lead in the bottom of the first and never looked back.
Marshall County jumped on Cardinal starter Lane Kennemore at the outset, turning three walks and four singles into a 6-0 lead.
Austin Johnson was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI to lead the Mayfield attack. Mason Wooten was also 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs.
The Cardinals, who came in with a 6-2 record and a four-game win streak, got their first baserunner on Kennemore’s two-out single in the top of the third. The Cards pitcher went to second on a passed ball, but was stranded there when Neal recorded his sixth strikeout to retire the side.
Kennemore, Stuart Mills and Austin Couch each had a pair of singles to account for all Mayfield’s hits.
Mayfield 000 00 – 0 6 2
Marshall Co. 622 0x – 10 10 0
WP: Wesley Neal LP: Lane Kennemore
Marshall Co. 9,
Crittenden Co. 0
Four days after their win at Marion, the Marshals met Crittenden County in their first game of the wood bats tourney Friday, and the result was an identical score.
Cody Clark scattered six hits in a six-inning pitching performance for the Marshals.
Austin Johnson and Mason Wooten were each 2-for-3 with two RBI. Clark was 0-for-3 but had a pair of RBI, one on a bases-loaded walk and another on a ground-out with the bases full.
A pair of three-run innings, in the second and fifth, provided the bulk of the scoring.
The Marshals sent nine batters to the plate in the second, after Chandler Foust led off the inning with a double. In the fifth, one base hit and three walks yielded the same number of runs for six batters.
Crittenden got four runners in scoring position. Pinch-hitter Reid Baker walked and advanced to third on a single by Taylor Champion and a passed ball, but Marshals reliever Lake Henson got his third strike-out of the inning to end the game.
Crittenden 000 000 0 – 0 7 3
Marshall Co. 131 130 x – 9 10 1
WP: Cody Clark LP: Travis Gilbert
Marshall Co. 4,
Wesley Neal had his second impressive outing of the week Saturday, striking out 10 Warrior batters and giving up only three hits in six innings of shutout pitching. The senior righthander walked only one.
Six batters reached base for Winfield, two on errors and one who was hit by a Neal pitch. Brad Jordan bunted for a hit to open the top of the sixth, moved to second on a passed ball and went to third on a ground out, but was caught in a rundown when he tried to score after the putout at first.
Winfield pitcher Dale Diedrich reached to open the seventh and advanced two bases on a wild pitch and passed ball, but Marshal reliever Austin Johnson ended the game with a strikeout, a comeback ground ball to the mound and a fly ball to center.
Evan Owen was 2-for-2 with an RBI and Johnson was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Winfield 000 000 0 – 0 3 3
Marshall Co. 110 011 x – 4 6 2
WP: Wesley Neal LP: Dale Diederich
Marshall Co. 6,
Trigg Co. 1
In their second game Saturday, the Marshals broke away from a 1-1 tie with five runs in the bottom of the fifth and avenged a 3-2 loss to the Wildcats at Cadiz on March 16.
Sophomore Hunter Jaco relieved starter Evan Owen after three innings and was credited with his second win of the week.
Owen and Jaco each struck out three. Austin Johnson pitched the sixth and Lake Henson the seventh for the Marshals.
Both teams got four hits and committed four errors.
The Wildcats went on top 1-0, manufacturing a run on an error, a single and a fly ball to center field. Devin Chambliss opened the bottom of the first with a double, but was stranded at second, leaving Trigg’s lead intact.
It stayed that way until the third, when Chandler Rogers, who reached on an error, scored on the second Trigg miscue of the inning.
The Marshals put the game way in the fifth, getting five runs from a walk, two singles, a two-RBI double by Austin Johnson, two hit batters and an error by the Trigg defense.
Dalton Morton and Cody Clark had the singles, with Morton driving in Chase Bright.
Trigg Co. 100 000 0 – 1 4 4
Marshall Co. 001 050 x – 6 4 4
WP: Hunter Jaco LP: Caleb McIntosh