The Mint Hill American Legion Post 4059 baseball club is now all even with the Gaston Braves after gaining a 2-1 advantage entering Monday nights ball game. The home team was planning on closing out the Braves, however, their opponent had other ideas as they crushed Post 4059 11-0 at Independence High Stadium in front of the home crowd.
This series has been a strange encounter for all involved. Both teams have won their away games with Mint Hill defeating Gaston 5-3 in the opener and 7-3 Sunday night at Belmont Abbey College. The final game 5 contest will be played this evening back at the college ball field starting at 7:00 pm.
Eli Ellington from Covenant Day started game 4 for Mint Hill and pitched 4 2/3 innings yielding 3 earned runs, 4 hits, 7 strike outs, 4 walks, 1 hit batter and 1 wild pitch leaving the game down 4-0. Trey Archer entered the game and retired the final out on a foul ball fly out to catcher Austin Purser to end the fifth inning.
The home team had some scoring opportunities throughout the ball game, but could not get a key hit to find a gap in the infield or outfield to drive in any runs. Mint Hill stranded 8 base runners in the game. They actually hit Gaston Braves starter Jordan Helms fairly well, however, many hard hit balls were drilled right at the Braves fielders for very frustrating at bats for many of the Mint Hill hitters.
The frustration showed on the field as Mint Hill committed 4 errors and made a few running mistakes that slowed down any hope of a comeback. This is a solid baseball club with some good talent, however, they have to remain focused, be patient and keep their composure. They have been a resilient group all season and are absolutely capable of rebounding in game 5.
Meanwhile, Gaston took advantage of almost every opportunity by scoring 7 more runs over the last three innings of play on a combination of 5 walks, hit batsman, 2 wild pitches, 3 errors, and only on 4 hits of which 2 were for extra base hits doubles into the left center field gap.
Coach Stu Brown instinctively seeing how the game was not going in his teams direction used a number of pitchers in the game to try and keep everyone rested for Tuesday nights deciding game 5 at Belmont Abbey when all arms will be available as one of these teams will be eliminated while the winner will move on to the semifinal round to continue their quest for a state championship.