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June 2012
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Eagles rally in rain over Marshall

By Jon Futrell jfutrell@paducahsun.com

MAYFIELD - With a recent slump following a huge winning streak, Graves County's baseball team really needed a home win over Marshall County on Thursday. When inclement weather halted the game during the sixth inning, neither team was sure what it had.

After the fifth inning - the final completed inning - the Marshals led 2-1. As heavy winds and light showers made their way onto the ballfield in the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles rallied big. Graves scored four runs to go up 5-2 before Marshall pulled its team because of the worsening weather and the two squads did the postgame team handshake.

If the game reverts to the last completed inning, Marshall would have the 2-1 win. However, Marshall pulling its team off the field could be seen as a forfeit, which would make the score 7-0, Graves. The KHSAA website listed the final score 5-2 Graves. Whatever the case, Eagle coach Khristian Elliott liked what he saw from his team.

"The win or loss doesn't matter that much," Elliott said after the game. "We responded well. Dylan Givens did a heck of a job on the mound but I thought Justin Hayden did a great job too. That's two teams going to the region right there if they're playing their best baseball."

Marshall snapped Graves' 15-game winning streak with a 7-4 win in Draffenville on May 8. Since that loss, the Eagles had gone 2-2 while the Marshals were 2-1.

For the first three innings, it was those pitchers playing the best as neither allowed a baserunner in that stretch. The Marshals broke the drought with two runs in the top of the fourth. With Chase Bright on second, Austin Johnson grounded to second. The throw form Eamon Hannan to Tanner Smith at first was wide and Bright scored from second.

With runners on second and third, Cody Clark singled to center to score Johnson. Graves cut that lead in half during its time in the fourth as Hayden singled past short to score Hannan.

As the weather grew colder and wetter in the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles got hot. Tyler Harlow led off with a walk, then stole second against new pitcher Johnson. Hannan bunted down the third base line and beat the throw to first. Tanner Smith grounded to second, but Blake Johnson could not handle it and Harlow scored the tying run.

After Hayden was walked to load the bases, the rain forced a delay before Peyton Puckett could step up to the plate. The Marshals used the delay to replace Johnson on the mound with Logan Forsythe. Once the rain stopped and play resumed, Puckett drilled a 1-1 pitch into left-center to score Hannan and Smith. Christian Gough, who singled in the fifth, then became the game's only multiple hitter with a double to deep right that brought Hayden home with the final run.

"We're mudders I guess you could say," Elliott said of his team's bad weather efforts. "We try to deal with the elements and do what you can and control what you can control. We just try to play real hard and I'm happy with how my kids responded."

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Marshall County 000 200 2 4 3

Graves County 000 104 5 5 3

Givens, A. Johnson (6), Forsythe (6) and Rogers; Hayden and Travis.

2B: G-Gough. 3B: none. HR: none. Top hitters: G-Gough 2-3 (RBI). Records: Marshall County 22-9, Graves County 23-7.

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