TRENTON, Mo. – Seven home runs and two pitching shutouts sparked the Mineral Area baseball team in a four-game road series sweep of Region 16 opponent North Central over the weekend.
Jake Pryor drilled a two-run shot, and Jared Jones finished 2-for-4 with two RBI in game one of the first doubleheader as the Cardinals prevailed 8-4 on Saturday.
Blakeney Kearbey (5-3) compiled 12 strikeouts and allowed four runs on nine hits over seven innings for the complete-game win. He worked around three walks.
Riley Perks drove in two runs while Tommy Van de Sanden and Drew Blechle singled for Mineral Area, which scored three times in the fifth inning to grab a 4-2 lead.
Jones hammered a grand slam among two home runs to accumulate five RBI, and Ryan Paschal fanned seven in a five-hitter as MAC rolled 9-0 in game two on Saturday.
Perks slugged a three-run blast, and the Cardinals extended their 3-0 advantage with six tallies in the top of the seventh inning to invoke an early conclusion.
Paschal (3-3) walked three, but was helped by two double plays in the shutout. The Cardinals picked up single runs in the first, third and sixth frames before breaking it open.
Van de Sanden was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Dillon Thomas walked three times, and Dalton Cook chipped in a single for Mineral Area.
Pryor was perfect at the plate with two singles and two walks, and notched two RBI as the Cardinals began doubleheader action on Sunday with a 9-4 victory.
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Jones crushed a three-run homer – his third of the series and fifth of the season – and Liam Hicks posted a double, single and two RBI to pace the offense.
Cole Allen (4-0) surrendered just one unearned run through six innings, and recorded 10 strikeouts while giving four hits and two walks.
Caleb Feuerstake provided a single with two runs scored, and Blechle had an RBI single. Mineral Area increased its early 2-1 edge with four runs in the top of the third.
Parker Stidham punctuated the sweep by throwing a dominant two-hitter later Sunday, as a four-run outburst in the opening frame spurred a 10-0 triumph in five innings.
Hicks went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, and elevated his team-high RBI total to 53 with three more for the Cardinals (28-14, 16-14).
Pryor launched a three-run home run, and Blechle added a two-run shot – his first of the season – within a 10-hit performance by the visitors.
Feuerstake, Van de Sanden and Cook supplied doubles in the win. Jones notched a single with two runs scored, and Thomas added an RBI hit for MAC.
Stidham (3-4) struck out five and walked none while facing just two batters above the minimum.
Two victories at Metropolitan-Maple Woods on Monday would guarantee the No. 4 Region 16 tourney seed and hosting rights for the first-round playoff series.