PARK HILLS — The Mineral Area Cardinals gave challenge in both games of their doubleheader on Tuesday to Jefferson College’s being ranked sixth nationally, but they came up short in both games, as the Vikings used some key hitting to pull out a pair of two-run wins, 5-3 and 6-4.
The Cardinals played the match game to start game one as each time the Vikings scored a run in the top of the inning, the Cardinals scored one in the bottom of the same frame.
A two-out walk issued to Jeffco lead-off hitter in the top of the third was rewarded with a wild pitch followed by an RBI single by Danny Murphy. Mineral Area’s lead-off hitter Lance Fields drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the inning, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Brad Ridings.
The Vikings jumped back into the lead in their very next at-bats after a pair of singles forced the Cardinals to let the run score on a ground ball they opted to turn into a double play, instead.
It took only one pitch to even up the score in the bottom of the fourth as Dylan Mays gave the ball a ride to neatly deposit it over the 300’ sign down the line in right for a home run.
For the second time in a row, Jeffco’s Fred Ford led off with a single to start the inning in the sixth and he broke for second on the first pitch to Kyle Leslie which prevented a double play on the well-executed, hit-and-run.
The Vikings broke the game open after Fields made a diving catch of a low liner in centerfield for the second out. Ford was able to score from second on a single into right field by Sage Boehner.
The relay by first baseman Mays to home was overthrown, allowing runners to advance to second and third on the play, and the No. 9 hitter Josh Herrick capitalized on it to drive in both runs with a single in the hole at short for a 6-2 lead.
The Cardinals again tried to match the Vikings runs. Clayton Gibbons was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh, and Dylan McEwin exchanged places on a fielder’s choice which should have been a single, instead.
Outfielder Kyle Leslie acted like he was going to make the catch on a long liner to left which caused pinch-runner Austin Harris to start retracking his steps, but the ball fell in front of the fielder, and Leslie alertly took it on the bounce to make the throw to second for the force out.
A two-out single by Ridings (3-3) drove in McEwin, but Valle-graduate Michael Greminger struck out the next batter to register the save for the Vikings.
Greminger’s ex-teammate Wayde Roth pitched for Mineral Area in Game Two and he locked into a pitching duel with Jeffco’s Logan Hershenow with the two pitchers only allowing a combined three singles for the first two times through each others’ line-ups.
Mineral Area broke the ice first, and with the help of three consecutive errors by the Vikings, they scored two runs in the third inning without a hit.
A two-RBI double by Ford gave Jefferson the lead in the top of the fifth, and the Cardinals were able to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, with a lead-of walk issued to Tanner Glore. After advancing to second on a ground ball, designated-hitter Brad Wright drove Glore in with a single.
Both teams were able to advance a runner to third in the seventh inning, but Roth struck out the final hitter in the top of the seventh, and after Fields hit a two-out triple in the bottom of the inning, Vikings relief pitcher Brad Lombard did the same.
The Vikings (34-7) scored three runs on four hits in the top of the eighth with all three coming after two outs. Danny Murphy drove in one and Brendon Neel drove in two with their singles.
Mineral Area rallied in the bottom of the eighth, starting with a one-out double by Glore. A passed ball put Glore on third and a walk to Mays put runners on the corners. Cody Garlington hit a line shot for a single into right to score Glore, but the throw went instead to Ford at first, which caught Garlington rounding the bag for the second out. Lombard struck out the next batter for the win.
Mineral Area (20-16) will host St. Louis Community on Thursday with a 1 p.m. start
Jeffco 001 103 0 - 5 9 0
MAC 001 100 1 - 3 6 2
WP- Travis Hayes 6 1/3i 3r 5h 4k 4bb 1hb, SV- Mike Greminger 2/3i 0r 1h 1k 0bb, LP- Jeff King 7i 5r 9h 3k 3bb.
Jeffco - Fred Ford 3-4, Danny Murphy 2-4, Ian Foege 1-2, Sage Boehner 1-3, Josh Herrick 1-3, Kyle Leslie 1-4. 2b- Foege.
MAC - Brad Ridings 3-3, Lance Fields 1-3, Dylan Mays 1-3, Dylan McEwin 1-3. HR- Mays, 2b- Ridings.
Jeffco 000 030 03 - 6 10 4
MAC 002 001 01 - 4 5 1
WP- Brad Lombard 2i 1r 3h 3k 1bb. LP- Ivan Pyska 1i 3r 4h 0k 0bb.
Jeffco - Fred Ford 3-5, Danny Murphy 2-5, Brendon Neel 2-5, Blake Martin 1-2, Brett Peel 1-3, Josh Herrick 1-3. 2b- Ford.
MAC - Tyler Bunge 1-3, Tanner Glore 1-3, Brad Wright 1-3, Lance Fields 1-4, Cody Garlington 1-4. 3b- Fields, 2b- Glore.