FARMINGTON — Two Mineral Area teams battled head to head Saturday for a guaranteed spot in the championship final of the Cal Ripken 11-and-under state tournament after advancing through the first two rounds.
The National squad pounced for four runs in the second inning and netted six more in the fifth to punctuate a 13-3 victory over the American all-stars, maximizing just eight total hits.
Lucas Spray went 2-for-2 with two runs scored, and Briley Smith notched his second hit with a two-run double that had grand slam distance and ended the game as the 10-run rule was enforced.
The entire first inning required only 14 pitches as National starter Holden Mayberry and American hurler Alex Palmer tossed perfect frames. But the Nationals would break through in the second.
Smith lined a leadoff hit and Jason Mahurin reached on an error before both crossed the plate on wild pitches. Spray made it 3-0 with a RBI double to left before coming home on a passed ball.
The Americans tallied their three runs exclusively in the third inning. Palmer tripled to drive in both Isiah Gibbs and Austin Jarvis, and Karson Kekec’s RBI single trimmed the deficit to 4-3.
Dillon Manion singled and scored on a double play in the National third, and two errors in the fourth prove costly when infielder Dawson Harper ripped a key RBI single through the middle for a 7-3 advantage.
Palmer and Kekec each finished 2-for-3 to pace the American all-stars after stroking singles in the fifth, but Mayberry extinguished that scoring threat to register a complete game with seven hits allowed.
The Nationals received a spark from their bench in bottom of the fifth. Ryan Coleman and Conner Hagerty had singles, Nick Parker scored a run and Cody Manion chipped in a RBI ground out as 10 batters stepped to the plate.
Jake Sullens and Garett Bowen added hits for the MABA Americans, who will face either Sikeston or Scott County at 3 p.m. on Sunday for the right to play the MABA Nationals at 5:30 p.m.