FARMINGTON – After seeing a four-run lead vanish in the bottom of the sixth, the Valley Wildcats had to rally in their last at-bats to score three runs which turned out to be just enough for a 9-8 win as the Mineral Area Red Hawks scored two in the bottom of the seventh.
The Red Hawks loaded the bases with two outs, but Wildcat relief pitcher Keaton Loughary was able to get a ground ball just inside the line at third which third baseman Garrett Holt nabbed and stepped on the bag for the final out.
Loughary was the Wildcats fourth pitcher in the rain-threatened game, but he picked up the win for his one and one-third innings on the mound after getting out of bases-loaded jams in both innings. Loughary had a shaky start in the sixth with three straight walks, but substitute right fielder Andy Brakefield hauled in a liner to prevent any further damage.
The Wildcats took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third behind pitcher Shawn Mork who struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced in his three-inning start. Mork helped his own cause with a two-run double and he would finish 2-4 with both hits going for two bases. Tim Mork drove in two more runs in the third with a single.
The Red Hawks answered in the fourth as they posted two runs with Austin Phelps driving in the first run with a single, and he would score later from third on a wild pitch.
The Wildcats got both runs back in the top of the sixth. Tim Mork scored on a wild pitch, and with two outs Loughary drove in Thaddeus Heifner with a single for his first RBI.
The Red Hawks took advantage of a pitching meltdown by the Wildcats to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth as they received six walks in the inning in sending 10 batters to the plate to score the four needed runs. Shawn Mork led off the seventh with double and he would eventually score the go-ahead run on a passed ball.
Trent McClain singled and was able to score on a ground ball by Garret Holt. The Wildcats loaded the bases and a Loughary worked the count to walk and drive in Holt for what would turn out to be the winning run.
RBI singles by both Brent Bohnerd and Owen Collins in the seventh made it a one-run game.