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Mineral Area 16-year-olds dominate Dexter to win state title

BOONVILLE – The Mineral Area 16-year-old All-Stars captured the state tournament championship in Boonville on Monday, and made an emphatic statement entering the upcoming regional in the process.

After suffering a 2-1 defeat as the hands of Dexter on Friday night, Mineral Area stormed through the loser’s bracket over the weekend to earn a rematch against Dexter in the finals. The MABA All-Stars needed to defeat Dexter twice on Monday to claim the title under the double-elimination format, but that proved not to be a problem.

Mineral Area opened the first contest by scoring seven unanswered runs on the way to an 11-1 victory in six innings. Dustin Bess gave up only one hit and did not walk a batter while recording three strikeouts over five innings to earn the win. Waylon Gonz pitched a scoreless sixth to close out the game.

Aaron Blunt went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run to lead the charge for MABA, but his outstanding day with the bat was just beginning. Tyler Beers also connected for a two-run shot, while Eric Koppeis ripped a double. Other Mineral Area hits belonged to Derek Stroup, Kody Martin, Jimmy Thompson, Mark Lupkey and Bess.

Game one turned out to be the more competitive of the two, however, as Mineral Area dismantled Dexter 18-1 in the five-inning nightcap. Even though MABA cranked out 12 hits in the contest, pitching set the tone for success.

Bess got the start again and allowed just one walk over a stint of three innings. Blunt and Josh Jaco each recorded two strikeouts during their respective innings in relief to complete a combined no-hitter.

Blunt blasted two more home runs – a three-run shot and a grand slam – on his way to a 3-for-3 performance with eight RBI. Stroup was also a perfect 3-for-3 with a double and four RBI.

Ronnie Calvird added a double while Taylor Fall, Koppeis, Gonz, Bess and Martin each had singles. Mineral Area posted a 6-1 record in the state tournament with each of their wins ending via the 10-run rule.

MABA will host the Midwest Plains Regional tournament at Wilson-Rozier Park in Farmington, as action begins at 11 a.m. on Friday with four opening-round games. Mineral Area will face the Iowa state champs at 7:30 p.m. and Dexter will also represent Missouri against Kansas at 1:30 p.m.

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