PARK HILLS – Pitching proved to be a deciding factor in both games Saturday as Mineral Area bounced Maple Woods from the Region 16 baseball postseason.
The fourth-seeded Cardinals continued their dominance over the Monarchs after previously sweeping a four-game series three weeks ago.
Logan Winder pitched all five innings of a 12-2 game one victory, and Jacob Clark lasted all seven in the 13-4 clincher in a best-of-three playoff.
Winder allowed five hits with four strikeouts, and Clark struck out five while giving up seven hits.
Mineral Area (35-18) will travel to Joplin, Mo. on Thursday and face Jefferson in to open the four-team, double-elimination Region 16 bracket.
The Monarchs cycled through four pitchers in each matchup with none staying on the mound for more than two innings.
The Cardinals scored in every inning of game one, and loaded the bases in four different frames.
The bulk of production came in the fifth on a grand slam from Chase Urhahn to give the Cardinals a late 10-2 lead. Trent Popst hit two-RBI double into left field moments later to end the game.
Urhahn blasted an earlier home run out of right field on a 2-0 count to lead off the fourth inning. He finished 4-for-4 with seven RBI.
There were six total home runs during the two contests, and each shot traveled beyond right field with help of strong wind gusts.
Hunter Draffen and Mitch Barrow each tallied two hits as Mineral Area totaled 11 overall. Maple Woods (19-37) posted five hits in the first game.
Jacob Miller started on the mound for the Monarchs and allowed four hits through 1 2/3 innings. John Bastarache was the last of three relievers, and gave up two runs without recording an out.
Chris Robinson and Derick Newby also pitched during the first contest, and each allowed two hits.
Game two started favorably for Maple Woods with four runs posted in the first inning. Robbie Collier sent a two-RBI single into center field to cap the rally.
Levi McLaughlin was the first to score as the second batter for the Monarchs with a solo home run into right-center field.
Devon Wilson responded quickly with a three-run shot into right-center on a full count in the bottom of the first, bringing the Cardinals within 4-3.
Wilson also doubled while ending with three hits and five RBI. Andrew Hayden also homered and doubled in the victory, and Tanner Wetrich added two hits with two RBI.
Clark allowed no additional runs to Maple Woods following the rocky first inning. The Cardinals tacked on runs in each inning except the fifth.
They took advantage of several mistakes by the Monarchs in the third. Kenton Crawford and Wetrich each scored on wild pitches to make the MAC lead 10-4 after Hayden lifted a lead-off home run.
The last run crossed the plate in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run homer from Winder after Hayden doubled deep into left field.
The eight-run rule was invoked to end the game after the Monarchs failed to generate anything against Clark in the seventh.
Ty Zeller pitched the first inning for Maple Woods and gave up one hit. Colten Devine also allowed one hit while throwing the last inning.
Conner Bosworth struck out three while working the second and third innings. Blake Christensen pitched the next two, and allowed four hits.