DRAFFENVILLE – Tuesday night marked a first for McCracken County’s baseball team, though not one the Mustangs are particularly happy about.
Following a 4-3 loss to Marshall County, on a walk-off sacrifice fly from Cole Griggs, McCracken County lost its second game in a row against a First Region opponent for the first time in school history.
“The energy level was disappointing,” Mustangs coach Geno Miller said after a several-minute long discussion with his team. “We had a heartbreaking loss last night (1-0 to Graves County) and we just didn’t come back, and we didn’t come ready to play. And that’s just coaching. I need to do a better job of getting my guys ready to play.”
Up 3-2 going to the bottom of the seventh inning, things unraveled for the Mustangs (25-8). Starter Garrett Crabtree walked Austin Stockdale, the No. 8 hitter, before allowing a bunt single to Jackson Beal, in the No. 9 hole.
Miller called on left-handed freshman Brandon Dodd to get McCracken County out of the inning, but that didn’t work out, either.
Dodd was immediately called for a balk, allowing Stockdale and Beal to move to second and third. After walking Ty Buchmeier to load the bases, Dodd walked C.J. Johnson to tie the game at 3.
Griggs followed with the game-winning fly ball to left field.
“We just knew we had to get the ball in play,” he said. “Crabtree pitched good all night. Dodd was doing a good job. We knew if we put the ball in play, good things were going to happen. I was looking fastball. I think I saw one off-speed (pitch) the whole at-bat, so I was definitely sitting fastball.”
Crabtree went six-plus innings for the Mustangs, giving up four runs – all earned – on six hits, while striking out six and walking two.
“I thought Garrett threw the ball well,” Miller said. “I thought he had three pitches. We just couldn’t close it out at the end. I thought Brandon threw some good pitches that he didn’t get credit for. It’s one of those things.”
The win, Griggs said, is fuel for Marshall County, which plays Paducah Tilghman on Thursday.
“It motivates us,” he said. “It tells us we can beat whoever we put our mind to. We practiced rally hard for this moment and it’ll push us hard for the rest of the season.”
Brock Anderson got the win for the Marshals (18-7). He pitched a complete game, allowing three runs – two earned – on seven hits, while striking out two and walking three.
McCracken Co. 110 001 0 3 7 1
Marshall Co. 002 000 2 4 7 2
Crabtree and B. Dodd (7) and J.M. Dodd; Anderson and Belcher.
WP: Anderson. LP: Crabtree.
2B: McC: Langston. 3B: none. HR: none. Top hitters: McC: Sykes 2-4, Ehling 2-2; MAR: Buchmeier 2-3, Beal 2-2. Records: MAR: 18-7; McC: 25-8.