MINT HILL, NC – The Mint Hill Patriots defeated Hickory 13-6 in the first round of the playoffs recently. The ‘Boys of Summer’ took a quick and commanding 9-0 lead in the first inning of the ball game.
Adam Wilkerson the starting pitcher for the home team led off with a walk, David Garfinkel smashed a base hit up the middle, Nathan Samii smacked a double driving in the first two runs. Tommy Walker worked another base on balls, Andy Duran followed with a hard line drive base hit to left to load up the bases, Jeremy Beamon hit a sacrifice fly, Jack Pressor picked up another run a fielders choice, but all runners were safe on a dropped ball, Jake Stanley hit a hard grounder to deep shortstop for a run, Chris Ronek walked, Wilkerson forced a base on balls on a full count, Garfinkel followed with a double for 2 RBI’s, and Samii singled for his third ribbie of the inning. Walker made the last out on a long fly to right field. The Patriots had themselves a very comfortable 9-0 lead.
However, Hickory did not hang their heads in the top of the second inning and scored 4 runs on 3 hits, a wild pitch, walk, and an error on a ball hit in the gap, with the right fielder Prosser making an excellent play on the baseball, to only have it hit the heel of his mitt and bounce out for the error to open up the scoring. With only one out, Coach Glenn Mangum replaced Wilkerson with Jeremy Beamon. He struck out the first hitter, but proceeded to give up one base hit for a run, however, he struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Mint Hill bounced back with a double by Beamon into the right center field gap, he stole third base, and eventually scored on a wild throw in an attempted pick-off by the Hickory catcher. The home team now had a 10-4 advantage after two innings of play.
Post 555 would add 2 more runs in the third inning on a couple of errors, a walk and two base hits giving the home boys a 12-4 lead. Meanwhile, Beamon would shut down the Hickory offense for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. Mint Hill would add an insurance run in the bottom frame of the 5th inning when Sammi tripled and scored on a balk to give Mint Hill a commanding 13-4 lead with two innings remaining in the contest.
Hickory continued to battle, they scratched an earned run against Beamon in the 6th inning, and another unearned run on a double error on one play by the Mint Hill second baseman in the 7th frame.
In the end this was a game of dominance with timely hitting and aggressive baseball by the Patriots. Beamon had a solid performance in relief pitching 5.2 innings allowing only one earned run. He recorded 7 strikeouts, while giving up only three hits. On the defense side of the ball, both teams did not have a good night. Hickory committed 5 errors while Mint Hill had 4 errors.
As additional information, Game 2 of the first round of the American Legion State Playoffs was played in Hickory on Monday night. Mint Hill came home with a 9-3 victory putting the #1 seed Post 555 up 2-0 in the series. The home team now has an 11-2 record on the season.