PARK HILLS – Sophomore Cole Allen got the nod for Mineral Area on Tuesday afternoon, and shut down the Crowley’s Ridge junior varsity. He dominated through five innings and struck out five while allowing one hit.
Mineral Area (14-2, 4-2) was paced at the plate in a 16-0 victory by Liam Hicks, who finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with two walks, four runs scored and three RBI.
Sophomore Caleb Feuerstake batted four times, connecting for a single and a double. He scored four runs while walking twice and drove in another.
The Cardinals held a 4-0 margin to begin the fourth inning. Consecutive walks to Anyelo Marte and Jared Jones put runners on base.
Feuerstake was beaned by pitcher Luke Helm, which allowed national slugging percentage leader Hicks to bat with the bases loaded.
Hicks was drilled with the second pitch of the plate appearance and gained his second RBI of the game to extend the lead.
Crowley’s Ridge went to the bullpen, but was unable to stop an 11-run Mineral Area outbreak. Consecutive walks brought in two more, and German Sepulveda singled in Hicks.
Riley Perks was given a free pass to score Tommy Van De Sanden, which was followed by a hard-fought battle as Dillon Thomas saw eight pitches to draw the sixth walk of the inning.
Feuerstake walked in his second plate appearance of the fourth, followed by three singles in a row by Hicks, Kurt Dawkins and Ryan LaPlante. Seventeen batters appeared in the elongated frame that included only four hits.
Allen began the fifth with a strike out, followed by a walk, and Peyton Moore broke up the no-hit bid with a shallow single that dropped in front of the left fielder.
It was the Pioneers' lone hit of the day. Allen ended the inning, and his outing, with back-to-back strikeouts.
Zach McDermott pitched the sixth inning for the Cardinals, facing five hitters and striking out two. Garrison Keene capped the combined shutout with a perfect seventh.
Feuerstake opened the home half of the first with a double, and scored on a single by Hicks, who came home on a sacrifice fly.
The pair crossed the plate again in the third. Feuerstake scored on an RBI ground out to the shortstop by Van De Sanden, while an errant throw from the third baseman enabled Hicks to touch the plate.
Hicks drove a double to left field in the sixth, and scored the final run of the game on a single from Dawkins.
MAC second baseman Dillon Thomas made a superb fielding play up the middle and leaped to throw out an opposing batter.
Helm threw three innings, struck out three, walked four and allowed nine runs in defeat for Crowley's Ridge (0-3).
Spencer Lanman faced 13 batters, struck out two and surrendered six earned runs in the fourth. Josh Lyman yielded one run over the final two innings.
Mineral Area’s scheduled doubleheader for Wednesday against North Arkansas has been postponed due to the likelihood of rain.
The Cardinals will return to action against Hannibal-LaGrange on Monday.