The Mint Hill senior baseball club picked up a much needed win on Friday night when they jumped on Pineville early and kept adding on more hits and runs to capture a nice 10-4 victory on the road at Ardrey Kell High School Stadium.
In the first inning, Mint Hill scored three runs to give starter Owen Tappy, from Providence Day who will be attending Hampton-Sydney this fall a comfortable cushion when he would take the mound in the bottom half of the inning.
Meanwhile, Bubba Comer the lead off hitter worked a base on balls, he would promptly steal second base, Michael Dansky hit a sharp grounder to second, it was misplayed for an error putting runners on the corners. Sam Kagan would deliver a rope for a double just missing going out of the park by inches to drive in two RBI’s. Matthew Mangum and Shane Russell would both walk loading up the bases with no outs, Ryan Mangum would hit a grounder up the middle converted into a force play at second base, however, scoring the third run of the inning. Corbin Berkovics and C J Brown would be retired to limit the damage.
Pineville would get one run back and score on a fielders choice with runners on first and third with one out for the second out of the inning. The next batter would be called out on a third strike as Tappy painted the outside corner.
In the second, Mint Hill added two more runs on two hits, one walk and one throwing error in the infield to take a 5-1 lead. The throwing error by the shortstop after making a nice play on a grounder deep in the hole, allowed two runners to score Ben Walton and Dansky who both singled prior to the miscue.
Again Pineville would bounce back with one run of their own on a walk, a little flair base hit down the right field line putting runners on the corners, followed by a grounder to deep second base scoring the runner from third to trade an out at first. After two innings of play Mint Hill had a 5-2 advantage.
Mint Hill went down in order in the top half of the third, however, Pineville would score two more runs on a bases loaded sacrifice fly and a base hit to make the score 5-4.
In the fourth, after Comer put down a nice bunt was thrown out by the pitcher Lee Gardner for Pineville who made a very nice play, Dansky would walk, Kagan would smack a base hit, Matt Mangum would work a base on balls, then Mint Hill would score a run on a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly to make the score 7-4. Pineville would go down in order in the fourth as Tappy who did not have his best stuff tonight battled to end on a high note pitching four very competitive innings leaving the game with a 5-4 lead.
In the fifth, both teams could not score, and the highlight was Ryan Mangum who pitched to four batters allowing one walk and one strikeout for the visitors from Mint Hill.
In the sixth, Matt Mangum hustled an infield hit, stole second and third base on consecutive pitches putting himself on third base with no outs. After Russell was not able to advance the runner, Ryan Mangum would walk, with runners on the corners, Tappy would hit a grounder to deep shortstop scoring the pinch runner Abraham Williams from third. Noah Howie would make the second out, Walton would walk, and Comer would beat out an infield hit for another run. The final run would score on a sacrifice fly giving Mint Hill a commanding 10-4 lead.
Enter “The Heater” Sam Kagan, who looks like the closer of this team, who can bring on some heat in the mid to upper 80’s with a nice breaking pitch. The Providence High School standout who is heading to Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida to hone his skills would pitch the final two innings and retire all six batters he faced with four strikeouts including the final out of the contest.
Starter Owen Tappy would get the win, and currently “Big” Corbin Berkovics is schedule to start on Saturday night at Independence Stadium when Lincoln County comes into town to face off with Mint Hill in another important Senior Legion baseball game.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Mint Hill 3 2 0 2 0 3 0 10 10 0
Pineville 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 4 5 2