The Mint Hill Junior Marines Legion baseball team made of all Independence High School players defeated Dallas Legion 5-4 in the home opener late Saturday afternoon. Corbin Berkovics smashed a hard single through the infield in the bottom of the seventh inning to drive in the winning run for Mint Hill.
The game for the first three innings was a pitching duel between the two starters. Mint Hill’s Jonathon Todaro had a gutsy performance going 6 2/3 innings for Post 4059 at Independence High School Stadium.
However, in the top of the fourth inning Dallas scored the first run of the game on a walk and two base hits for a 1-0 lead. In the bottom half of the fourth Corbin Berkovics smashed his second hit of the game between shortstop and third base. He stole second base and with one out, Bryson Jusko hit an RBI single driving in Berkovics from second base to tie the score 1-1.
With the score still tied going into the home frame Mint Hill exploded for 3 runs to take a seemingly commanding lead. Ryan Mangum lead off with an infield single and scooted to second base when the Dallas third baseman made an errant throw to first after Mangum already beat the throw. Then Corbin Berkovics was intentionally walked, on the next pitch a passed ball put runners on second and third. Peyton Milleman lined a double into the left center field gap driving in both runners. With one out Brandon Moser ripped and RBI single driving in Milleman giving Mint Hill a 4-1 advantage.
Jonathon Todaro would strikeout the first batter he faced and was only two outs away from a complete game victory. However, the next hitter hit a hard line drive for a single, with a pinch hitter coming to the plate on the first pitch delivered Brock Smith cracked a long home run over the left field fence to tighten the score 4-3. Todaro would strikeout the next batter for the second out of the inning only one out from the complete game. He walked the next batter he faced and Coach Cooke kept his bull dog Todaro in the game to face another batter and the move backfired.
Coach walked out to the mound and replaced Todaro who left to a standing ovation. The relief pitcher Connor Randall would end the threat, however, not before the game was tied 4-4.
In the home seventh pinch hitter Colby Ryan lined a hard single to left. Then Tate Peterman walked, Ryan Mangum reached on an error by the left fielder on a fly ball to load the bases. Dallas Coach put in his ace Kaleb Parker to face power hitter Corbin Berkovics, on the first pitch Berkovics smashed a single up the middle to score the winning run for a walk-off 5-4 victory.