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Mineral Area baseball settles for series split

PARK HILLS – Neither Trever Lewis nor Kenton Crawford received consistent plate appearances as utility players last season for the Mineral Area baseball team.

The outfielders have since seized greater opportunity as sophomores by currently swinging two of the most reliable bats in the lineup, as evidenced Sunday when both tallied two multi-hit games.

The Cardinals salvaged a positive conclusion to an otherwise lackluster split of a four-game home series against State Fair – a new Region 16 opponent navigating its inaugural season.

Mineral Area used a six-run eighth inning to prevail 11-3 in game two of a rescheduled doubleheader after dropping the opener 11-7 to the Roadrunners.

Lewis highlighted the second contest by going 4-for-4 with three runs scored from the leadoff spot. He connected for a solo home run off Payton Rawlins in the bottom of the third inning.

Chase Urhahn provided three hits for the Cardinals, and snapped a 3-3 tie with an RBI double in the fifth after Trynt Tompkins drew a two-out walk.

That run marked the first of eight unanswered by MAC, and placed starting pitcher Jose Peguero (2-0) in line for the win. The right-hander allowed five hits overall before departing in the sixth inning.

State Fair was denied the tying run when runner Derek Shikles was thrown out with 20 feet to spare by Urhahn after Zack Ehlen singled through the left side.

Cardinals reliever Jacob Clark retired the next six batters, including four on strikeouts, and pitched the last three innings to complete the save.

Lewis continued his strong afternoon in the seventh with an RBI single to make it 5-3, and Mineral Area (17-9, 9-3) tacked on a six spot in the eighth to enforce the run rule.

Hunter Draffen bookended the final frame with a leadoff single and sacrifice fly, and Crawford notched his second hit when a two-RBI single bounded over the shortstop.

Jeremey Rivera went 2-for-4, and Devon Wilson gave the Cardinals a 3-0 edge by stealing two bases and scampering home on a wild throw in the fourth inning.

Shortstop and University of Iowa signee Tanner Wetrich made a remarkable pick-up and spinning throw from behind second base to open the State Fair fifth.

But the next five Roadrunners would reach safely against Peguero. Bunt singles by Derik Miller and Tyler Crane preceded a tying two-run single by Andru Baxley.

Miller made a greater impact on the game defensively with two outstanding catches deep along the left-field line. Ehlen and Crane had two hits each for State Fair (11-15, 4-12).

First baseman Tanner Cantrell starred in game one for the Roadrunners, finishing 3-for-3 with a pivotal home run while reaching base five consecutive times.

His two-run blast forged a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning, and the visitors surged ahead with two tallies in the sixth while handing MAC right-hander Alex Hanft (4-1) his first loss of the season.

D.J. McNew advanced on a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch after being plunked. Miller lined the go-ahead single to center, then scored on a hit by Crane.

Wilson paced Mineral Area with a 3-for-3 effort, and cut the margin to 6-5 with an RBI single moments after the Cardinals had a runner thrown out at home.

State Fair answered with five runs on a two-out rally in the seventh against reliever Conner Forsythe, who retired two batters following a debatable error at third base.

Shikles and Cantrell contributed RBI singles, and Ehlen supplied the jolting swing in between with a two-RBI double to left-center.

Chase Plymell struck out six and got the win despite allowing 11 hits over 6 1/3 innings. He was chased by singles from Lewis and Logan Winder.

Wetrich singled in Winder after Lewis crossed the plate on the wild pitch, but Alex Dyer retired the last two MAC batters to seal the outcome.

Crane went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, and Shikles added two hits for the Roadrunners, who moved in front 2-0 on Jacob Clifton’s RBI single in the opening frame.

Hanft entered with a sparkling 1.36 ERA over 33 innings, but allowed five earned runs on eight hits while acquiring 16 outs on Sunday. He compiled eight strikeouts and walked one.

Rivera sparked the Cardinals with a tying two-run double, and scored from second base on an error to put MAC ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the second inning.

Crawford cracked his team-high fourth home run in the third with the bases empty, and equaled Lewis and Wetrich by going 2-for-4 overall.

Mineral Area resumes action at home Tuesday against Wentworth Military.

Sophomore outfielder Trever Lewis collected six hits in doubleheader action Sunday against State Fair, including his third home run of the season.

Sophomore outfielder Trever Lewis collected six hits in doubleheader action Sunday against State Fair, including his third home run of the season.

Mineral Area second baseman Jeremey Rivera makes a lunging attempt at a ground ball during game one of a doubleheader against State Fair on Sunday, Mar. 26, 2017.

Mineral Area second baseman Jeremey Rivera makes a lunging attempt at a ground ball during game one of a doubleheader against State Fair on Sunday, Mar. 26, 2017.

Mineral Area sophomore Jose Peguero pitched into the sixth inning, and scattered five hits during an 11-3 victory over State Fair in game two of a doubleheader on Sunday.

Mineral Area sophomore Jose Peguero pitched into the sixth inning, and scattered five hits during an 11-3 victory over State Fair in game two of a doubleheader on Sunday.

Mineral Area sophomore Devon Wilson scrambles toward home plate after stealing third base and drawing an errant throw during game two against State Fair on Sunday.

Mineral Area sophomore Devon Wilson scrambles toward home plate after stealing third base and drawing an errant throw during game two against State Fair on Sunday.

Matt King is the sports editor for the Daily Journal. Contact him at mking@dailyjournalonine.com

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