PARK HILLS – Leadoff man Caleb Feuerstake smashed his seventh home run this season, and Liam Hicks added his sixth to help the Mineral Area respond from a dreadful series opener on Friday.
The Cardinals scored four times in the bottom of the seventh inning, and earned a doubleheader split with Region 16 rival Three Rivers by prevailing 9-6 in game two.
Feuerstake scored four runs and also doubled while going 4-for-5 overall to power the offense. Doug Payne provided an RBI triple for Mineral Area (23-20, 18-10).
Hicks was 3-for-5 overall, and triple for his second extra-base hit while collecting three RBI. Jared Jones singled and walks in two plate appearances, and Mitch Barrow contributed an RBI single.
Three Rivers (19-23, 9-20) grabbed a 6-5 lead against Cardinals starter Travis Turnbough, who allowed 10 hits and struck out seven over six innings. Only two of the six runs against him were earned.
Parker Stidham worked a scoreless top of the seventh for the win, and Stephen Carter fanned four over the last two frames to protect a three-run cushion and earn the save.
Ryan Hunter went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, and Beau Burson notched a double among three hits for the Raiders. Elvin Diaz took the loss in relief after first escaping an inherited jam in the sixth.
The Cardinals began the day one game behind State Fair for a potential No. 3 region tournament seed with six games to play. They will travel to Three Rivers on Saturday.
The Raiders dominated the opening contest on Friday after three Mineral Area pitchers combined to issue 10 walks while the defense spiraled with seven errors.
Hunter finished 2-for-4 with a home run and double, and No. 9 batter Ty’Reik Thomas compiled five RBI to send Three Rivers past the Cardinals 15-3 in a rout.
The visitors sent 10 batters to the plate during the third inning, and notched four runs while starter Ryan Paschal and reliever Spencer Burnham each walked a pair.
Matt Robbins doubled home two with the bases loaded and no outs in the third to chase Paschal, and a ground out by Thomas made it 5-0.
Thomas homered in the fifth for the lone earned run against Brandt Busenbark, who was otherwise the victim of six defensive miscues during his four innings on the mound.
A missed pop fly in the sixth preceded a two-out, two-run double by Hunter, and two poor throws on ground balls created three more unearned tallies in the seventh.
Mineral Area trailed 12-0 before extending the action with three runs in the sixth, ending the shutout bid of opposing starter Quentin Bowling, who struck out six over 5 2/3 innings.
Jake Pryor highlighted his 3-for-4 game with an RBI single, and Payne drove a two-run single through the middle with the bases loaded.
The Cardinals wasted a leadoff double by Feuerstake in the first inning, and back-to-back singles from Pryor and John Benevolent to start the bottom of the fifth.