Marshals' plate patience pays off with district championship

Marshall County players hoist the Fourth District championship baseball trophy following their 14-3 win Monday over Calloway County.

MURRAY – Marshall County played a patient game Monday that paid dividends and earned them the Fourth District Baseball Championship.

Up 1-0 in the top of the fifth inning, they took four walks, took advantage of some Calloway County miscues, and struck when the chances arose such as a two-RBI double by Griffin Darnall for a 6-0 lead. The Marshals’ offense kept tacking on runs – eight more in the next two frames – to defeat the hosting Lakers, 14-3.

Marshall County will play another waiting game to draw this week and find out which runner-up team from the First, Second or Third Districts they will play in the First Region tournament at McCracken County High School. Calloway County will do likewise against on the districts’ winners.

Despite earning the championship shot Saturday by defeating Murray in the semifinals, 5-3, the Marshals were still chomping at the bits to play.

“Our guys were ready to play,” head coach Rob McDonald said after the game. “We took advantage of some mistakes. We took quite a few walks. We didn’t make it easy. The guys showed some patience and discipline at the plate and I thought did a good job.”

Neither team batted deep until the third innings when Marshall County went six batters in – four after opening with two outs – and managed to get on the scoreboard when Ethan Landis doubled off a ground ball into left field that scored Reese Oakley from third base.

Trailing 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Lakers (16-15) scored twice with an RBI to left by Braden Pingel and Cadwell Turner’s sacrifice fly that scored Jackson Chapman. Marshall County (13-10) added two more runs in the sixth while Calloway tacked on another before the Marshals’ blow-out seventh.

Five of the first seven Marshals worked for walks (with an RBI single mixed in) and started a stretch of five straight scores en route to the eventual final tally.

Calloway ran through four pitchers to pump the breaks on Marshall County’s offense. Colby White worked four innings. Matthew Ray managed one inning, Austin Collie added 1 1/3, and Will Duncan closed things out to account for 12 earned runs, eight hits and 11 walks.

Clay Hale pitched five innings for Marshall for five hits and one earned run of the Lakers’ three. Jace Driver struck out three in his two innings of work and allowed only one hit.

Chase Hayden posted a 3-for-5 day with two RBI for Marshall County while Darnall accounted for three RBI. Pingel was 2-for-4 to pace the Lakers.

Marshall County closed the day in dramatic fashion with left fielder Conner Mannon making an over-the-shoulder catch a split second before crashing into the outfield wall for the final out.

“That’s the play of the day on ESPN,” McDonald said. “I’m proud of his toughness.”

Editor's Note: No Fourth District All-Tournament Baseball Team was announced after the game.