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Crowder prolongs mastery of MAC

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Mineral Area baseball team ended its season Friday after being overpowered again by Crowder pitcher and major league prospect Aaron Ashby.

The hard-throwing lefty puzzled the Cardinals to accumulate 17 strikeouts through eight stellar innings, and the Roughriders prevailed 10-1 in a Region 16 Tournament elimination game.

Tyler Duncan provided the offensive support by going 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI, including a towering three-run shot off Parker Stidham that ended the contest one inning early.

Leadoff man Kobe Morris provided perhaps the most pivotal swing, however, as Mineral Area hurler Luis Acuna attempted to escape a bases-loaded mess in the second frame.

Acuna obtained a strikeout on a full count and shallow fly ball to right field, but Morris highlighted his 3-for-5 performance with a grand slam.

Frielin Cabrera singled next and scored on Duncan’s RBI double to make it 5-0. Acuna would allow five runs on nine hits before departing in the fourth.

Ashby cruised with the ample lead, and twirled a complete game 5-hitter on 132 pitches. He recorded five consecutive strikeouts during two separate stints within the contest.

Caleb Feuerstake had the greatest success against him for Mineral Area (27-23), going 3-for-4 with two stolen bases. He scored on an RBI single by Liam Hicks in the fifth.

Cardinals reliever Stephen Carter fanned four over three innings, and worked brilliantly to strand all three inherited three runners from Acuna with no outs in the fourth. Carter made his team-high 18th appearance.

But a leadoff walk to No. 9 batter Luke Price proved costly in the sixth, and Duncan went deep for the first time to create a 7-1 Crowder advantage.

Cabrera provided two hits while Quinn Cherry, Colton Nix and Cooper King strung together three singles during the second inning for the Roughriders (44-15).

Mitch Barrow singled on a misjudged pop fly, and was also hit by a pitch for Mineral Area, which had lost three of four games to Crowder in the regular season.

Ashby threw a five-inning no-hitter against the Cardinals with 13 strikeouts on March 30.

Mineral Area relief pitcher Stephen Carter struck out four and allowed two runs over three innings while making his team-high 18th appearance on Friday against Crowder in the Region 16 Tournament.

Mineral Area relief pitcher Stephen Carter struck out four and allowed two runs over three innings while making his team-high 18th appearance on Friday against Crowder in the Region 16 Tournament.

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

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