PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area baseball team surrendered four runs on defensive errors while falling into a 6-2 deficit, but executed a five-run rally with two outs in the home half of the fourth inning to recapture the lead in game one against Maple Woods.
The Cardinals carried a hot offense into the second contest to complete a best-of-three series sweep on Saturday, and will proceed to the Region 16 tournament this week in Joplin, Mo.
Caleb Feuerstake drove in the first run of the fourth inning for Mineral Area (27-21) to bring the score within 6-3 in game one. Liam Hicks, Trynt Tompkins, Mitch Barrow and Jake Pryor each notched RBI singles in succession to achieve the lead in a 9-6 triumph.
Trent Pobst paced the Cardinals by going 2-for-4 with a home run that capped the scoring in the sixth, plus a double with two RBI. Barrow and Hicks each had two singles and a pair of RBI.
Pryor singled twice for Mineral Area, while Ethan Reando posted an RBI single to square the score at 1-1 in the second frame.
Ryan Paschal earned the win by striking out six and allowing just one hit through the last 5 2/3 innings. He entered immediately after starter Kollin Stone gave up a two-RBI single to trail 5-2 in the fourth with one out.
Stone allowed six runs on four hits, although only two of the runs were earned.
Starter Jacob Kidwell surrendered seven runs on nine hits for Maple Woods before Cole Lehman took over to begin the fifth inning. Lehman struck out three and gave up two hits.
Jacob Miller recorded two singles with a pair of RBI for the Monarchs, while Sean Cooley provided a hit and drove in a runner. Hayden Baumgartner and Grant Newton each singled.
Feuerstake led off game two with a home run out of center to spark a 16-hit performance by Mineral Area. He ended 5-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI through seven innings to highlight the clinching 18-4 victory.
Barrow went 3-for-5 with a long home run, double and three RBI for the Cardinals. Pobst contributed a three-run blast during a massive seventh inning, and added a double to total four RBI.
Reando drove in two with a homer to cap all scoring, and John Benevolent added a solo shot to lead off the fifth for a 7-1 Mineral Area lead. Tompkins posted a pair of singles in the win.
The Cardinals began the seventh frame with an 8-3 advantage, and received two free runners after Andrew Hayden and Reando were hit by pitches. They sent 12 to the plate and exhausted four opposing pitchers before recording the first out of a 10-run inning.
Six Maple Woods hurlers combined to issue 12 walks while hitting five. Starter Payton Toliver was ejected for nearly hitting Pryor on the next offering after giving up a lead-off home run to Benevolent in the third inning.
Luis Acuna limited the Monarchs to just three hits and three runs while striking out nine through six innings to win for the Cardinals.
Spencer Burnham started the seventh, but walked three and gave up an RBI single while recording two outs.
Logan Damesworth inherited a bases-loaded jam after Burnham issued his third walk, and fanned his lone batter on three pitches.
Baumgartner finished 2-for-3 for Maple Woods (13-40), including a two-run homer, to make the deficit 7-3 in the fifth. Michael Valdivia posted a solo shot in the second, and Matt Mackey produced a double.