PARK HILLS – First-place Jefferson recorded two wins against Mineral Area on Saturday behind a steady offense, and secured three of four in a key Region 16 baseball series after splitting a doubleheader on Thursday.
The Vikings notched 13 hits in each victory, but the Cardinals began game two with a quick advantage.
Liam Hicks cracked a solo home run to right field as the second batter for Mineral Area, and Trynt Tompkins went back to back on the next pitch to create a 2-0 lead.
However, the Jefferson lineup responded to surge ahead in the seventh inning before finishing out a 5-2 result.
Nick Hagedorn and Justin Perkins each produced back-to-back RBI singles with two outs during the fifth inning as the Vikings drew even at 2-2.
Joey Polak added a double to put two runners in scoring position, but Luis Acuna coaxed a fly ball on the next at bat to evade further damage.
Polak singled into right field during the seventh inning to drive across the go-ahead run after tipping away three foul balls in a full-count battle against relief pitcher Stephen Carter.
Carter opened the ninth with a pair of strikeouts, but Polak singled to spark a clinching rally. Dalton Doyle singled to create a 4-2 lead, and Hunter Swift followed with an RBI double.
Swift struck out one of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth before coaxing consecutive fly outs to earn the save.
Riley Boyd fanned five as the starter for Jefferson (40-8-1, 26-6), and allowed eight hits through 5 1/3 innings. Adam Link worked the next 2 2/3 and earned the win by striking out four and giving up two hits.
Acuna worked 5 1/3 innings for Mineral Area (22-19, 16-10), and struck out six with seven hits. Carter fanned five before Spencer Burnham tallied three strikeouts in the final inning.
Perkins paced the visitors by going 3-for-4, including a double. Jake Kalusniak contributed a double and a single, while Dalton Doyle added a pair of hits.
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Hicks produced four hits, including a double for Mineral Area. Trent Pobst singled twice, and provided a reliable glove by tracking down numerous fly balls in center field.
John Benevolent notched a double for the Cardinals in the fourth inning. Caleb Feuerstake and Andrew Hayden each added hits.
Jefferson posted four runs in each of the last three frames to claim a 14-1 game one triumph in six innings.
The Vikings built a 10-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning, but Feuerstake drove in the lone Mineral Area run with a bases-loaded fielder’s choice to extend the game.
Three straight walks loaded the bases to begin the Jefferson sixth. Kalusniak increased the lead to 12-1 with a double to right field.
Jack Lombardi and Perkins contributed sacrifice flies before MAC reliever Logan Damesworth registered his lone strikeout.
Left-handed closer Bailey Vuylsteke fanned the final two of the three batters he faced in the sixth inning to seal the victory. Austin Hicks started for the Vikings, and had six strikeouts while giving up just two hits.
Kollin Stone worked four innings for Mineral Area, and gave up six runs on eight hits in the loss.
Kalusniak finished 3-for-4 with a double and four RBI for Jefferson. Perkins went 2-for-3 with a triple and four RBI, despite getting hit in the mouth by a pitch during the third inning.
Raul Elguezabal posted a pair of doubles for the Vikings, while Hagedorn and Polak each singled twice.
Hicks singled in the first frame for the Cardinals, who are scheduled to host North Arkansas for two games on Tuesday.