April 17, 2014
MA wins eighth
straight district title
The streak continues at Marshall Academy.
The Patriots, last Thursday, captured their eighth straight district championship in baseball.
“It’s a huge accomplishment and a great testament to this program,” said head coach Bart Jenkins, who has led MA to the last four of the district crowns.
This one came in District 1-A with the two-game sweep of DeSoto School at Patriot Field. The previous seven were in District 1-AA.
Coaches Jimmy Hicks and Johnny Ray were at the helm for two titles each.
“I’ve really enjoyed the four in a row that I’ve been a part of,” Jenkins said.
“This streak says a lot about the kids and the three coaches who have been successful here.
“We have been blessed with talented players who know how to battle and know how to win.”
The most recent district championship did not come easy. Marshall had to rally from behind twice.
The Pats were the visitors in game one, which was a make-up from a scheduled contest rained out at Desoto, and the home team in game two.
In game one, the Patriots found themselves down 4-0 entering the sixth inning. They scored two in the sixth and two in the seventh to tie the game. Then in the first extra inning, they scored two to win it, 6-4.
“There’s just a lot of fight in Marshall kids,” Jenkins said. “They will not quit fighting.”
A DeSoto error on B.W. Langston’s ground ball sent the two runs home in the top of the eighth.
Then in the bottom of the inning, pitcher Chance Lykens retired all three batters he faced.
Lykens, who came on in relief of Tucker Fant, gave up no hits and no runs, struck out seven and walked just one in five innings of work. He got the mound win. In three innings, Fant gave up two hits, struck out three and walked four.
Dakota Dailey carried the big stick for MA. He had three hits. Langston had two doubles, one in the sixth and another in the seventh, to spark the rally. Colt Lindsey also had two hits, a double and a triple. Josh Mask and Thomas Faulkenbery each had a hit and an RBI. Lykens and Andrew Herrington added a single apiece.
The Thunderbirds had just two hits and also committed two errors.
In game two, the story was similar. Marshall was down 2-1 going to the bottom of the seventh.
Dailey came through in the clutch. His hit scored two runs as the Patriots rallied for a 3-2 win, setting off a huge celebration on the home diamond.
“Again, these kids just keep battling,” Jenkins said.
Dailey finished off a six-hit day with three more hits and two RBIs. Getting one hit each were Langston, Faulkenbery and Tobe West.
Herrington pitched just the top of the seventh and got the victory. He struck out two of the three Thunderbirds he faced.
Matt Miller started and threw six innings. He gave up five hits, struck out six and walked two.
The Patriots (11-6) start the state playoffs this week. They face Greenville Christian, the second-place team from District 2-A, in a best-of-three series. Game one was Tuesday at Greenville with games two and three (if necessary) to be played at Marshall this Friday at 3 p.m.
The MA-Greenville Christian series winner advances to face the Delta-DeSoto series winner in round two next week.
The other two first round games in the north half of the bracket pit Hebron Christian against Carroll Academy and Benton against Kemper.
“This team has a lot chemistry,” Jenkins said. “They’ve worked hard and they play well together. We’re looking forward to the playoffs.”
This group of Patriots will be seeking the school’s first ever state championship in baseball.
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