MINT HILL, NC – The Mint Hill American Legion State Playoffs Championship Tournament continued on Sunday night at Independence High School. The home team dropped another heartbreaker on a balk with the bases loaded and two outs to Caldwell County.
So far this season, this team appears to be snake bit, as they continue to find ways to lose close ballgames that could have been victories, instead into the jaws of frustrating defeats. This is a very competitive ball club, however, the breaks continue to bounce against them in very strange ways putting themselves in a tough position to move forward in the tournament. They now must sweep the next three games or take summer vacation.
Game #3 continues today at Caldwell County on July 4th. Mint Hill must win on the road, and follow up with a home victory on Tuesday night to force a game 5 in Caldwell. Meanwhile, in the first inning on a fly ball which should have been the final out of the inning, was lost in the lights by the left fielder that scored the first run of the ball game, the mishap gave Caldwell an early 1 run lead off of starter Collin McDougall. He retired the next batter on three pitches striking him out to end any further threat.
The game remained scoreless as both pitchers McDougall and Caldwell’s Eli Weber put up goose eggs until the fourth inning. Again with two outs and a runner on first base, a Caldwell batter delivered smacking a two run home run giving the visitors a 3-0 edge.
However, Mint Hill would begin to chip away at the lead, scoring one run of their own when Jackson Warfield leadoff the bottom half of the inning with a line drive base hit, he promptly stole second base, and was advanced to third, PJ Chiles then hit a long sacrifice fly to center field to drive in the run making the score 3-1.
Mint Hill would tie the game in the home half of the fifth, Luke Chantry torched a line drive into the left center field gap for a triple, followed by Jake Stanley who smacked a ball into the right center field gap past a diving right fielder for another triple. Then David Mosrie hit a long flyball to left center scoring the tying run making the score 3-3 after five.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Caldwell was able to load the bases with two outs in the seventh, but scored on a called balk by the home plate umpire giving the visitors a 4-3 lead and the eventual winning run, Mint Hill was only able to get one base runner on a line drive single to center, but the next batter struck out to end the ball game with another frustrating defeat in two consecutive games.