Mint Hill Junior Marines defeat Mint Hill Army 6-5

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The two Mint Hill Junior American Legion teams clashed on Saturday at Independence High School Stadium.  The Army team played without their leader and number 1 starter John Orlowski who sustained an injury playing pick-up basketball with a severe angle sprain and will not be available for a minimum of six weeks.

Army player ready to smack a hit into center.

Meanwhile, the Army team drew first blood.  Drew Roberts promptly led-off with a single against Marines starting pitcher Lucas Turner.  With one out and Roberts now on second base, Leo Hoffer hit a ground ball deep in the hole between second and third, a nice backhanded play by the shortstop went bad when he made an ill advised throw to first base scoring Roberts.   The batter was awarded an infield hit and an error charged on the errant throw.  The next two hitters walked and the bases were loaded.  Jacob Eason singled to drive in Hoffer for the 2-0 lead.

Army’s Bryce Gorospe trying to tag Marine sliding safely into third.

Army pitcher Jacob Eason had a rocky start in the home half of the first.  Joey Granger led-off with an infield hit.  Then Granger would steal second base, while Ryan Mangum worked a walk putting runners on first and second.  Marines slugger Corbin Berkovics hit a hard grounder at the shortstop who started a nicely turned double play with two outs.  With the runner on third base on a wild pitch Granger easily scored getting the Marines on the scoreboard.

Marines score winning runs as Army catcher Jabe Wilhoit cannot apply the tag.

In the second inning Jacob Laplant for the Army team hustled an infield hit.  Then Drew Roberts hit a grounder to third and the throw sailed by the first baseman, sending the Laplant to third, with Roberts heading to second, the right fielder threw to the shortstop, Coach Kerr sent Laplant home and the throw was wild scoring the runner.  Roberts took third on the errant play.  Jacob Beard walked, on a hit and run Leo Hoffer grounded to second for the out.  With runners now on second and third Jabe Wilhoit hit a line drive off pitcher Lucas Turners leg who fielded the ball to get the out at first, however, Roberts scored from third.

In the bottom of the second the Marine team bounced back with three runs of their own to tie the score at 4-4.  They scored 3 runs on 4 hits with the big hits coming from Peyton Milleman,  Ben Hagan a double, Connor Randall doubled for an RBI, Tate Peterman with an RBI single, and Corbin Berkovics walked with the bases loaded to score a run.  The new pitcher for Army was Travis Ziefert who gave up the base on balls to Berkovics.

Marines celebrate their victory over Army.

In the fifth both teams scored with Army getting an unearned run with runners on the corners an error by the second baseman scored Hoffer for a 5-4 lead.  In the bottom of the fifth Corbin Berkovics  slammed a double down the left field line, Michael Rawlings entered the game to pinch run for Berkovics, Bryson Jusko singled, and Peyton Milleman doubled to drive in the winning runs while getting 2 RBI’s for the walk-off win for the Marines in a 6-5 thriller.

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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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