Patriots tame Mustangs for SW4A Tournament Title

Southwestern 4A Tournament Champions.(Ron Morris)
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Indy post 11-9 win in eight innings for tournament title.

Hickory Ridge High School in Harrisburg was the host field for the Southwestern 4A Conference baseball tournament.  The Thursday night  championship game featured the number one-seed Myers Park Mustangs and the third-seed Independence Patriots.

Indy’s Noah Howie rounds third after hitting a home run over the left field fence. (Ron Morris)

During the regular season the Patriots and the Mustangs split the series.  The Mustangs won the first contest 9-4 and most recently, Indy spoiled the Mustangs’ senior night by upsetting them 5-4.  So on Thursday night the Mustangs entered the championship game still smarting from the senior night loss and looking to get some revenge.

Bubba Comer slide home in the first inning to score Indy’s first run. (Ron Morris)

Indy started the game with Bubba Comer connecting on the game’s first pitch for a base hit.  After Nate Brown popped out to second, Matthew Mangum singled to left field.  Corbin Berkovics followed with another single to load the bases.  Ryan Mangum stepped in and got an infield hit to score Comer.  Raja Milton picked up an RBI with another infield hit driving in Matthew Mangum.  With two outs, Chase Rappe blasted a double to right field knocking in Berkovics and Milton as Indy took a 4-0 first inning  lead.

In the top of the second Indy added another run.  Bubba Comer led off with a double to center field.  Nate Brown singled moving Comer to third.  Noah Howie hit a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Comer, and the Patriots went up 5-0 after two full innings.

The Mustangs got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third when their lead off hitter singled deep to right center and later scored on a sacrifice fly to left cutting the score to 5-1.

Noah Howie scores Indy’s 11th run on a passed ball.(Ron Morris)

The Patriots made up the run in the top of the fourth.  With two outs, Noah Howie stepped to the plate, and on the first pitch, Howie blasted a home run over the left field fence making the score 6-1.Indy added three runs in the top half of the fifth.  After two quick outs,  Chase Rappe reached on a hard infield grounder.  Bryson Jusko drove Rappe home on a double to left.  Bubba Comer picked up an RBI with a single to right.  Matthew Mangum reached on an infield hit to the shortstop.  Noah Howie reached on an error by the Mustangs’ first baseman to score Indy’s third run making the score 9-1 after four and a half innings.

In the bottom half of the frame, the Mustangs came fighting back sending eleven batters to the plate and scoring seven runs on five hits and two walks.  The Mustangs’ hot bats caused Coach Cooke to make two pitching changes in the inning.  Ryan Mangum came in to finish the inning with Indy leading 9-8.

Matthew Mangum reaches third in the Patriots victory over Myers Park.(Ron Morris)

The Mustangs came back and tied the score in the bottom of the sixth as the teams headed into the seventh inning.  Neither team could score, and at the end of regulation play the game was tied 9-9.

As the game moved into extra innings, Matthew Mangum led off for the Patriots with a base hit to left.  Noah Howie followed with a walk putting runners on first and second.  Corbin Berkovics moved the runners to third and second with a fly ball to the outfield.  Ryan Mangum came to the plate and drove in his brother with a sacrifice fly to right field giving Indy the lead 10-9.  With Raja Milton at the plate, Noah Howie came home on a passed ball to put Indy up 11-9.

In the bottom half of the inning the Mustangs picked up a two out hit.  The game ended on a ground ball to second baseman Chase Rappe who made the throw to Berkovics for the final out.

Noah Howie scores Indy’s 11th run on a passed ball.(Ron Morris)

The Patriots combined for 16 hits.  Bubba Comer, Matthew Mangum and Chase Rappe led the Patriots with three hits each.  Nate Brown added two hits.  Noah Howie had a home run in the fourth inning as Indy won the game 11-9 and won the Southwestern 4A baseball championship.

After the game coach Cooke said,  “We were on fire there in the beginning to get up that big.  You got to tip your hat to Myers Park.  They didn’t quit.  I don’t think it was us letting off the gas.  It was just a credit to Myers Park for starting to hit the ball and doing some good base running.” “These guys got no quit.  Ever since spring break when maybe we could have quit, the resiliency was outstanding.  I couldn’t be more proud of what we are doing.  Going into the playoffs our pitching, defense, and hitting is all coming together.  The guys bought in.  We could have given up earlier in the year.  Right now we are probably one of the hottest teams around and hopefully it pays off come playoff time.  I’m excited for the first round, hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

The Patriots celebrate the victory.(Ron Morris)

The MVP of the tournament went to Indy’s Bubba Comer.

Independence  4  1  0  1  3  0  0  2  –  11

Myers Park      0  0  1  0  7  1  0  0 –     9

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