On Thursday night Mint Hill Post 4059 defeated the Gaston Braves 5-3 in the series opener at Belmont Abbey College. This past Friday night was a different story when the team returned home and took an early 1-0 lead. From the second inning forward the Gaston Braves just punished the local boys with a 15-4 rout. The Braves hammered 14 hits and made the most of every opportunity in their lopsided victory at Independence High Stadium. The best of five series is now tied 1-1 and moves back to Belmont Abbey College on Saturday night for game 3. The fourth game is scheduled for Sunday back at the big ball orchard at Independence Stadium at 7:00 pm.
Game 5 if necessary will return to Belmont Abbey College.
The good news and lesson learned is once a blowout contest is over its over and should be forgotten, put behind you. Tomorrow is another day and a new ball game will begin Saturday night with the score 0-0. This fact the local team must comprehend and shake off while keeping focus on their next ball game with more determination.
Starter Will Franklin struggled, however, was able to keep the game within reach leaving the game down 8-4 pitching a gallant 5 innings before turning the game over to the bullpen.
During the game there were certainly some questionable calls by the umpires that prolonged and seemed to benefit the visitors by giving them extra outs causing some frustration in the Mint Hill dugout which from this writers perspective was understandable and justifiable.
In fact in the sixth inning on a missed third strike on a half swing that appeared obvious to the coaches and fans that would have been the third out with the bases loaded was not called by the umpiring crew. Mint Hill Coach Stu Brown who is very experienced and has been mentored by major league professional coaches had to express his opinion. How did both officials miss a call that everyone in the ballpark thought was a third strike and the final out of the inning? Unfortunately, Brown expressed his opinion very passionately after being warned by the home plate umpire and was promptly ejected.
After the ejection incident Gaston went on to score 4 more runs and the rout was completed after the Braves added three more in the seventh inning as the bullpen could not shut down the visitors offense.
The highlight of the game for Mint Hill came in the third inning when they scored 3 runs on 4 hits. Ryan Mangum led off with a double down the third base line, Nate Brown executed a perfect bunt single putting runners on the corners for Cooper Fandel who delivered with a solid single to right with Brown in motion scoring both runners for 2 RBI’s. Kobe Phillips followed with a base hit, with runners on first and second and one out Nick Melton smacked a single scoring the runner from second making the score 5-4 with Gaston holding onto a slim lead after three innings of play.