Mint Hill Fury Wins Season Opener 12-2, Heartbreak Nightcap Loss 2-1

Team gathers around home to celebrate Taylor Houseton home run.
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MINT HILL, NC – The Mint Hill Fury Lady’s Fastpitch Softball season began with a doubleheader against Union County on the road. The team split the games with a 12-2 blowout victory and lost in a heartbreaking pitching duel on a walk-off committing an error in otherwise an outstanding pitching performance by Jamie Hearn.

Abi Sawyers slides safely into home plate.
Abi Sawyers slides safely into home plate.

In the first game, the Fury were ferocious scoring 4 runs in their first at-bats of the season going through the line-up. Mikenna Williams led off with a hustling triple, Taylor Houseton then crushed a 2-2 pitch over the left-field scoreboard to take a 2-0 lead. Abi Sawyers followed with a screaming line-drive single to left, Mackenzie Grant walked, with runners on first and third, a sacrifice fly drove in Sawyers, after an error by Union County, Ava Williams singled in the final run giving the Fury a quick 4-0 edge, and they never looked back.

Taylor Houseton tossing a strike, Mikenna Williams behind the dish.
Taylor Houseton tossing a strike, Mikenna Williams behind the dish.

Union County was able to scratch a run-off starter Taylor Houseton in the bottom of the first to make the score 4-1 on two hits. However, the Fury were relentless and all put this game away in the second inning.

Mikenna Williams led off with her second hit a grounder up the middle, and the hit parade continued. Grant singled, De’ Maya Brown singled, Ciara Farrar singled, Elizabeth Garbark walked, and Ava Williams doubled for 2 more runs and the rout was on. After two innings the Fury led 9-1.

Union County would add another run off of Houseton on two hits to make the score 9-2 after three innings of play. But the Fury countered in the fifth inning with 3 more runs with hits coming off the bats of Mikenna Williams her third, Houseton a two-bagger, a wild throw to third went into the dugout scoring Williams, then Sawyers singled, scoring Houseton, Midori Walkup singled, Emma Bosquet hit a hard smash into a fielders choice, then Kayla Purdy singled home Sawyers to put this game out of reach 12-2.

In the nightcap, it was a completely different ball game. The Fury bats went silent with the only run being scored in the first inning when Taylor Houseton blasted her second home run over the left-field wall inside the foul pole on a high drive easily clearing the fence.

Jamie Hearn appeared to be coasting shutting down Union County with 4 scoreless innings in an excellent pitching matchup. However, in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs,  the tying run scored on a double to the left-center field gap, the game now tied at 1-1, on a two-strike pitch, just one pitch away from going into extra innings, a tapper down the line was handled cleanly by Hearn, but her throw was high to first baseman Kimber Mulkey, the ball tipped off the top of her outstretched glove scoring the winning run for Union County.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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