Gastonia Post 23 scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning to break up a 5-5 tie late in the game to obtain a victory on the road. The Junior Marines squad all from Independence High School struggled to mount any offensive threat beyond the second inning when the Marines exploded for five runs of their own to take an early 5-2 lead.
Gastonia took a quick 2-0 lead scoring one unearned run in the first when a pick-off attempt caught the base runner in a rundown and first baseman Colby Ryan missed the throw from the shortstop scoring the runner from second. Then in the second inning scoring an earned run on 2 hits with the big blow being a triple off of Mint Hill starter Michael Rawlings.
In the bottom half of second inning Mint Hill bounced back from the rocky start. Clean-up hitter Colby Ryan lead-off with a double deep to right center field one hop off the fence. Bryson Jusko walked and Brandon Moser singled in Ryan for the first run. The DH Ryan Carney smacked another single scoring Moser to tie the game at 2-2. However, the Marines were not finished, Carney stole second base and Ben Hagan grounded out to second moving Carney to third. Carney on a delayed steal broke for home and scored on the surprise play when Joey Granger walked to first base and hustled down the line taking a quick turn. Granger eventually scored on a wild pitch from third base. By the end of the second frame the Marines had a nice 5-2 lead.
However, in the third inning Keanu Buentipo hit a solo home run on a hanging curve ball over the left field fence making the score 5-3. The home team Colby Ryan led off with his second double of the game, but was stranded.
In the top of the fourth inning after two quick outs a single, stolen base, walk and with runners in motion Gastonia’s Dalton Thomason smacked a double to left field scoring both base runners to tie the game at 5-5.
With both teams going down easily in the fifth, in the sixth inning Gastonia broke the game wide open scoring five runs. With the starting pitcher being pulled after two walks, a passed ball and a triple, Brandon Moser moved from third base to the mound. He followed with two consecutive walks, giving up a single, double and ending the inning on a comebacker the damage was done and Gastonia had a commanding 10-5 lead.
In the seventh with one out Joey Granger singled and stole second base, Owen Loker advanced Granger to third by hitting a hard grounder to second, with two outs Colby Ryan took a third strike call to end the game.
Gastoina pounded out 13 hits and relief pitcher Kenau Buentipo shutdown the Mint Hill offense for no runs in four innings giving up just 2 hits and recording 4 strikeouts.