ST. LOUIS – The first six innings, the best Marshall County’s Marshals could hope for was to enjoy the experience of playing in a Major League ball park.
The seventh inning, they got to let their competitive juices flow.
The Marshals rallied from an 8-0 deficit with six runs in the top of the seventh inning and ended up falling 8-6 to Hillsboro, Mo., at the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
“We were a little nervous” at the start, MC coach Mike Johnson said.
“But we battled back and we had a chance to tie it,” he added, “and that’s what you want to do.”
The Hawks, from neighboring Jefferson County, Mo., have played in high school exhibition games at Busch Stadium seven times previously, so they were not as much in awe of the experience.
The desire to win was there despite the philosophy of Johnson, who used each of his seven pitches in the seven innings played so that all players could get a taste of playing on the big field.
Players’ attitudes and enthusiasm picked up noticeably after the seventh-inning rally saw seven straight batters reach base.
Then, after two outs were finally recorded, the Marshals had runners on second and third when the final out was recorded.
The coaches agreed to play the bottom of the inning, in order to give both teams that final half-inning of action even though the game was decided.
“I think they had an incredible time,” Johnson said. “It was awesome for everybody.”
That included the large contingent of fans who followed the team to St. Louis
The game was the first of the week for the Marshals, after a game scheduled for April 7 at Carroll County was rained out.
For more pictures from Busch Stadium and a roundup of other games, see page C5.
Marshall Co. 000 000 6 – 6 8 4
Hillsboro 131 102 0 – 8 10 4
WP: Zack Hart LP: Hunter Jaco