Mint Hill Junior Army American Legion team falls to Stanly County 6-4

Mint Hill's Leo Hoffer is delivering a strike. (Ed Berti)
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It’s time for the boys of summer baseball to begin in full swing.  The American Legion Junior team from Mint Hill Post VFW 4059 played a close ballgame with Stanly County at Independence High School recently.

After a scoreless first inning Stanly County scored on a fielding error, a walk and base hit to take a quick 1-0 lead.  However, in the bottom frame Mint Hill bounced back scoring 2 runs on 3 hits, a walk, including a nifty double steal led by Michael Ritch to put both runner’s in scoring position.  Jabe Wilhoit would then drive in the go ahead run giving the home team a 2-1 advantage.

Mint Hill first basemen holding runner on base. (Ed Berti)

In the third, Stanly County struck back on two consecutive doubles off starter Leo Hoffer into the left center field gap to tie the score at 2-2.

In the fifth inning, Mint Hill’s Jabe Wilhoit doubled over the left fielder to the fence, then Queens Grant outfielder Jacob Beard smacked a solid single up the middle into center field for the RBI giving VFW Post 4059 a 3-2 lead.

Jacob Beard ready to smack RBI base hit up the middle. (Ed Berti)

In the top half of the sixth Stanly County with one out had runner’s at the corners, the next batter hit a lazy fly ball to right field, after the catch was made on the hand exchange the outfielder dropped the ball, the runner from third base scored when he tagged up on the play.  However, the runner on first base took off for second base and barely made it safely on a close play.  It appeared the runner on first base did not return to the bag to advance on the play.  This created a situation between the the officials and the Mint Hill coaching staff who protested the call and wanted the double play while keeping their slim 3-2 margin.  The officials disagreed giving South County the opportunity to tie the game at 3-3, and awarding the runner second base.  The next batter made out so there was no further damage, but this was a big factor in the final outcome of the game.

Michael Ritch in the batters. (Ed Berti)

After regulation the game remained tied at 3-3.  In the 8th South County broke open the contest scoring 3 runs.  The big blow came from Austin Galayn who slammed a double to right field for the game winning RBI.

In the bottom frame Nick Kuebler led off with a triple, with one out the next batter walked putting runners at the corners, on a ground out force play at second base Kuebler would score from third.  The next batter with a runner on first would strike out to end the game.

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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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