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Marion County’s 13-year-old Babe Ruth team got off to a rough start in their state tournament, losing by 10 runs to the host team, South Lexington, on July 11.
Marion County bounced back Friday with a win over Southeastern, but they were eliminated from the tournament Saturday by Russell County.
South Lexington 15,
Marion County 5
Marion County’s Babe Ruth team quickly dropped to the loser’s bracket after suffering an opening round loss to host South Lexington, 15-5, on July 11.
The game was much closer early than the final score indicated but did little to diminish the coaching staff’s disappointment in the team’s opening round performance.
“We were every bit as good as South Lexington,” Manager Joe Mattingly said. “We made mental mistakes early in the game that took us out of scoring opportunities and set a bad tone for the game.”
South Lexington got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the bottom of the second inning on two hits, two walks and a hit batter off of Marion County starting pitcher Cameron Nalley.
Marion County bounced back to knot the score 2-2 in the top of the fourth when Trent Farmer reached on an error, Zach Shepperson tripled to deep left center field, and Jacob Spalding singled sharply to right field to plate Shepperson.
South Lexington promptly put four more runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning to go back on top, 6-2.
In the top of the fifth inning, Marion County scored three more runs when Aaron Howard led off with a walk and stole second base. Kelly Mattingly’s second hit of the game drove in Howard. Mattingly scored on a Cameron Nalley triple over the center fielder’s head, and Nalley scored on a passed ball to pull Marion to within one run, 6-5.
South Lexington responded in the bottom of the fifth with six more runs to put the game out of reach and added three more in the sixth to end the game.
Marion County 9,
Marion County’s Babe Ruth team rebounded from its opening round loss to South Lexington by eliminating Southeastern, 9-5 behind an overpowering pitching performance by Trent Farmer in a game that concluded just before midnight on Friday.
Farmer went six innings on the mound. After giving up four unearned runs to Southeastern in the top of the first inning on four hits and two Marion errors, Farmer scattered six hits over his following five innings of work and gave up only one unearned run in the third inning while striking out two and walking two. Jacob Mattingly pitched a perfect seventh inning to close the door for Marion.
After spotting Southeastern four runs in the top of the first inning, Marion County chipped away at the lead. In the bottom of the first, Kelly Mattingly led off with an infield single. He was forced out at second on Zach Shepperson’s ground ball, but Shepperson moved around on a single by Cameron Nalley and scored on Jacob Spalding’s ground out.
Marion County knotted the score in the bottom of the second. Luke Thomas reached when the Southeastern catcher couldn’t hold a third strike. Ethan Spalding singled sharply to right field, advancing Thomas to third who then scored on a passed ball. Aaron Howard and Kelly Mattingly then walked to load the bases. Shepperson’s sacrifice fly to right field plated Ethan Spalding. Two subsequent groundouts scored two more runs for Marion.
Southeastern regained the lead 5-4 in the top of the third but Marion County tied it in the bottom of the third when Jacob Mattingly and Thomas walked and Mattingly scored on Ethan Spalding’s second hit of the day.
Marion County went ahead for good in the fourth when Shepperson reached on an error and eventually scored on a Trent Farmer infield hit.
Marion tacked on three more runs in the fifth when Ethan Spalding collected his third hit of the night and Aaron Howard and Kelly Mattingly reached on errors, making it 9-5.
Russell County 16,
Marion County 12
Russell County eliminated Marion County from the tournament Saturday, defeating the local team, 16-12.
Marion County hurt themselves with nine errors in the loss.
“This group was as skilled as any of the teams in the tournament,” Manager Joe Mattingly said. “However, even a good team can’t consistently shoot itself in the foot, give other good teams four or five outs an inning and expect to win.
Russell County pounced on Marion County early, taking a 7-2 lead after one inning. Marion County chipped away at the lead, and after four innings of play, the game was tied, 9-9.
Marion County managed to take an 11-10 lead after five innings, but Russell County responded with five runs in the top of the sixth inning to reclaim the lead. Russell County held on for the win.
In the loss, Jacob Spalding was 2-2 with two walks, two runs scored and two RBI for Marion County. Ethan Spalding was 2-5 with three RBI. Cameron Nally was 1-2, but drew three walks and scored three runs.
Dalton Hammond went 2-3 with four RBI, and Aaron Howard was 2-4 with two runs scored.
“Despite our disappointment, all of the coaches were extremely proud of the effort and the way these young men conducted themselves,” Mattingly said.
• The 2013 Marion County Babe Ruth team was the third to play in a State Tournament. The first was a team in 1974 coached by Joe Abell and the late Sam B. Thomas which lost its first game in the then single elimination tournament to Ashland in a game played in Frankfort. The second squad was the 1997 team coached by Ham Mattingly and John Sparrow that finished the tournament that year in Lexington with two wins and two losses.
• Five of the members of the 2013 Marion County Babe Ruth team, Trent Farmer, Jacob Mattingly, Kelly Mattingly, Cameron Nalley, Ethan Spalding and Luke Thomas, were making their fourth consecutive appearance in a baseball state tournament in their age group.
• Ethan Spalding tied for the lead of all hitters on all teams at the state tournament with a .625 batting average (5-8). Cameron Nalley led the state tournament in several categories: slugging percentage (1.000), triples (2), stolen bases (5) and strikeouts by a pitcher (10).
• Somerset/Pulaski County won the tournament, defeating South Lexington in the final game, 12-1
Marion Co. 000 230 - 5 6 6
S. Lexington 020 463 - 15 18 1
S’eastern 401 000 0 - 5 10 3
Marion Co. 131 130 X - 9 9 4
Russell Co. 710 115 1 - 16 13 0
Marion Co. 231 320 1 - 12 12 9