Mint Hill VFW 4059 defeats Huntersville 7-2

Mint Hill's Owen Tappy takes a lead off third base. (Ed Berti)
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Raja Milton delivers a strike. (Ed Berti)
Abraham “Wheels” Williams at bat for Mint Hill. (Ed Berti)
Mint Hill’s Matt Mangum strides into a pitch. (Ed Berti)
Mint Hill batter set in batters box. (Ed Berti)

The “Boys of Summer” continue to win baseball games with two big games coming up against Cleveland County, formerly Shelby Legion baseball club who historically have solid teams who compete for the finals of the American Legion World Series.

However, this years Mint Hill ball club is extremely competitive and they are in the thick of the action among the top tier teams in the state so far this season.

In the first, the home team scored 4 runs to jump out in front of Huntersville. Lead-off batter Bubba Comer walked, Ryan Mangum would line a single to center, the next hitter in the three hole is Sam Kagan, the slugger would hit a towering drive deep over the right-field fence for a three run home run for a quick 3-0 lead. Second baseman Bryce Gorospe would work a base on balls, Shane Russell would move the runner over to second base, then Matthew Mangum would deliver an RBI single to right-center driving in Gorospe for the final run of the inning.

Meanwhile, Mint Hill starting pitcher Ryan Mangum sailed through the first four innings allowing just one base hit while issuing only one walk and accumulating four strikeouts. However, in the fifth, Huntersville would finally get to him and scored two runs on three hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly slicing into the Mint Hill lead 4-2.

In the home half of the fifth, Mint Hill greeted the relief pitcher rudely, Owen Tappy led-off with a base hit up the middle, Noah Howie and Gorospe would both walk on 3-2 counts, Shane Russell would also work a walk to drive in the first run of the frame, then the big hit in the inning came, Matt Mangum would drill a solid line drive hit scoring Howie, and Ben Walton would hit into a fielders choice as Gorospe scored from third for a 3 run inning and a commanding 7-2 lead.

In the sixth inning, Raja Milton would enter the game in relief. The Independence standout would pitch two solid innings of baseball keeping the Huntersville hitters off balance while only facing seven batters giving up one walk and striking out three hitters.

This was Milton’s last game with the club, he is a two letter All-Conference athlete at Indy, and has made the decision to play collegiate basketball at the next level and must be reporting to summer camp on campus next week. Therefore, he will no longer be available to perform on the mound or in the outfield for Mint Hill this summer season.

The big hitters were Kagan with a home run and three runs batted in, Matt Mangum with two hits and 2 RBI’s on the night to lead the club to victory. Mint Hill is now 8-3 on the season with plenty of baseball yet to be played.

A doubleheader against Cleveland County will be played on Wednesday night June 19th at home with a 5:00 pm start. Sam Kagan, the Providence High School standout who is heading to Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida is the scheduled hurler in the opener. He has a strong arm, he can be used as a starter, closer and outfielder depending upon how coach Stu Brown wants to use him. He gives this club and the coaches a lot of flexibility which is nice to have with a demanding schedule.

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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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