The Mint Hill Junior American Legion baseball team was swept by Rutherford County recently to finish their season in the third round of the playoffs for the state title to advance to the regional’s.
They lost at home 6-2 after making some miscues both physically on the field and two huge blunders on the base paths taking away key scoring opportunities that changed the entire outcome of this game in vital situations. It’s the little mistakes which usually come back to bite you, and in this contest it raised it’s ugly head twice.
In the first inning, Andy Duran lined a triple down the right field line with the ball rolling all the way to the wall, he was running hard and slid into third base safely. However, the relay throw sailed by the third baseman and he took off for home, the throw beat Duran by full stride as he slid in head first extending his arm to avoid the tag, but was gunned down on a nice swiping tag by the catcher for Rutherford County.
In the fourth inning, with no score Rutherford broke through with 3 runs of their own. They combined three hits, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly, and an infield error to take a 3-0 lead. Michael Rollins pitched a scoreless three innings, but got into trouble in the fourth allowing two earned runs. Rutherford added two more runs in the fifth on three hits and a base-on-balls to take a comfortable 5-0 advantage. Relief pitcher Taylor Moser would take the loss pitching one inning for Mint Hill giving up 2 earned runs.
In the sixth, Mint Hill scored their only two runs on a single by Adam Ellington, Andy Duran’s second hit of the day, and a triple by Jab Wilhoyt. Again, another base running mistake made by a Mint Hill runner, he had the stop sign given by the third base coach, the relay throw rolled past third base up the line, the shortstop backing up nailed the lumbering runner easily at home plate trying to score to end the inning with the team’s clean-up hitter Brandon Moser on deck.
Rutherford would add an insurance run in the seventh inning, Mint Hill stranded two runners in the bottom half of the inning to end the game with a 6-2 loss in the opener.
The following day, the team traveled to Rutherford County for a game 2 night start and fell short in a hard fought contest 2-1 to end their season.
Team – Game 1 – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Rutherford County 0 0 0 3 2 0 1 6 9 1
Mint Hill 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 5 3