The Mint Hill Senior American Legion baseball team defeated Caldwell County Post 29 in the fifth and decisive game at home 13-8 to advance to the quarterfinals. The next round began with a game at Belmont Abbey College on Thursday night against the Gaston Braves won by Mint Hill 5-3. The second game will be played at Independence High Stadium on Friday night July 7th at 7:00 pm.
Mint Hill took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when they loaded the bases and Nick Melton smacked a hard ground ball up the middle and the second baseman made a nice back handed stop to get the force at second base for the RBI. However, the shortstop made a wide throw to first getting past the first baseman scoring the second run from third.
In the fourth inning Caldwell County bounced back with 5 runs on 4 hits including two doubles and a solo home run by Christian Church just fair inside the left field foul pole.
The bottom of the 4th found the home team on the counter attack scoring 3 runs on 5 hits to tie the score at 5-5. Brent Moody had an RBI single, Matt Mangum and Nick Melton followed with RBI base hits to complete the scoring.
Mint Hill broke the deadlock wide open in the sixth when Mangum led off with another single, he stole both second and third base, Cooper Fandel walked, and with runners on the corners Kobe Phillips smashed a double deep into left center scoring both base runners, Christian Ezell drilled a base hit to score Phillips and took second base on the throw home, Nate Brown singled scoring Ezell, then Brent Moody hit a dribbler toward third and the ball was thrown into the outfield scoring 2 more runs for an 11-5 Mint Hill advantage.
In the seventh inning Post 4059 added two more runs with two outs having both Melton and Ezell on second and third Nate Brown drove a single to left scoring both runners padding the home teams lead to 13-5.
Kobe Phillips who entered the game in the fourth inning to keep the game close did an outstanding job for Mint Hill on the mound. The hurler retired nine consecutive batters at one point before giving up a base hit, double and walk in the eight inning allowing 2 runs to score. Reliever Jake McDaniel eventually would strike out Christian Church to end the scoring after allowing a base hit to drive in the third run of the inning for Caldwell County.
Going into the ninth Mint Hill still had a 13-8 lead and McDaniel quickly retired the first two batters, he gave up a single and on the next pitch the game ended on a lazy fly ball to right field for the win.