Mint Hill Legion defeats Union County 8-7 ready for playoffs

Mint Hill batter.
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On another hot and humid summer night the boys of summer played an important baseball game in the Patriots ballpark at Independence High School.  This time the game had some meaning and the home team would grind out an 8-7 victory over Union County.

After a scoreless first inning Union County struck first off of crafty lefty Nick Melton on 3 hits scoring 2 runs giving the visitors a quick lead.  However, in the bottom half of the second inning power hitter Corbin Berkovics leading off would slam a towering drive for a  home run well over the left field fence down the line clearly fair to put Mint Hill on the scoreboard.

Mint Hill base runner is safe at third. (Ed Berti)

Mint Hill would get even in the third on a double, a nice sacrifice bunt and with two outs  the runner on third base would score on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2-2.

In the fourth Mint Hill would strike again when Caleb Barwick would smack a double in the gap, Landon Dennis would walk, with one out the next batter Ryan Mangum would slam a double into the right center field gap scoring the runner from second as the outfielder made a good play cutting off the ball and getting his throw back into the infield putting runners on second and third.  Step up to the plate big brother Matt Mangum, and on an 2-0 pitch he would line a single into center scoring the base runners for two RBI’s and giving Mint Hill a 5-2 advantage.

Union County runner is out at first base. (Ed Berti)

In the top of the fifth Mint Hill suddenly began to play sloppy baseball.  A sacrifice bunt was not executed well by pitcher Nick Melton as his throw to first base was high pulling Corbin Berkovics off the bag.  This would have been the second out of the inning.  Then suddenly a walk, a couple of singles, an outfielder missing the cut-off man with the runner taking an extra base, and catcher Nate Naygarrd making an errant throw to second base sailing into center field to score the second run leaving Mint Hill with a slim 5-4 margin.

In the sixth Mint Hill would continue being shaky on the diamond committing three errors, and allowing Union County to take a 6-5 lead on a couple of hits and a walk on a close 3-2 pitch.

Nick Melton delivering a strike. (Ed Berti)

The home team has a lot of heart and competitive spirit and bounced back to score three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Mitch Cope would walk, Ryan Magnum had an infield hit, a double by Matt Magnum to score a run, Noah Howie would hit a long sacrifice fly for the second run, and with runners at the corners Nate Nayrarrd would crack a double for the RBI giving Mint Hill an 8-6 lead.

In the seventh inning relief pitcher and closer Corbin Berkovics would give up one run, but would get the next two batters striking out the final batter on a blazing fast ball and stranding the tying run on base to secure the 8-7 win.

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