The Junior American Legion Army team beat McDowell County 5-4 in the opener of the second round playoff match-up between the two ball clubs.
This game turned out to be a pitching dual for the first 3.5 innings before Mint Hill would break out and take a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning. McDowell struck first when they were able to score a run off of starter Jonathon Todaro from Independence High School.
However, after a shaky start Todaro settled down and pitched five consecutive solid innings not allowing a run and keeping Mint Hill in the ball game within easy striking distance to tie or take a lead.
In the fourth, Mint Hill would score 3 runs with the big blows coming on three straight doubles hit into the outfield gaps by Alwin Duran, Andy Duran and Brandon Moser. A sacrifice fly added the third run giving Mint Hill a 3-1 lead.
In the fifth Inning, Mint Hill would score two important insurance runs with the big hit coming off the bat of Brandon Moser again who smacked his second double of the ball game driving in the eventual game winning run.
With Todaro pitching five solid innings, in the sixth Cameron King pitch to four batters to maintain a comfortable 5-1 advantage with just three outs remaining to clinch the win. However, in the seventh, reliable relief pitcher Ethan Morgan entered the game and struggled allowing a couple of hits and walked a few batters getting himself into trouble. He was able to get out of the jam with two outs and the go ahead run at the plate, he would get the final out on a strikeout to end the contest and secure the 5-4 win.
The team would travel to McDowell County for game two and lost on the road 3-1 in a well played ball game. Setting up the rubber match in game three of the playoff round. The juniors play the best of three instead of five as the seniors do to save the younger developing pitching arms.
Team Game 1 – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
McDowell County 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5 1
Mint Hill 0 0 0 3 2 0 X 5 7 1