JOPLIN, Mo. – Steady hitting on Friday ensured the first Mineral Area victory against Jefferson this season in the first round of the Region 16 Tournament.
The top-seeded Vikings had previously swept the No. 4 seeded Cardinals during their four contests in the regular season.
Mineral Area (36-18) tallied four hits while scoring twice in a big sixth inning to help secure the 6-1 win, and will advance to face Crowder on Sunday. Crowder also swept the Cardinals in all of their regular-season meetings.
Trent Popst led off the sixth for Mineral Area with a double, and later scored off a single to center field from Hunter Draffen for a 3-0 lead.
Cody Siebenberger took over pitching for Jefferson (42-13) following the hit from Draffen, but allowed an RBI single from Kenton Crawford moments after coming in.
The Cardinals were led by Logan Winder, who finished 4-for-6 with a double and two RBI. He also pitched the first eight innings, allowing only four hits with six strikeouts.
Connor Forsythe relieved the final inning and struck out two.
Kenton Crawford had two hits with a double and two RBI for Mineral Area, while Trynt Tompkins also notched two hits.
Tanner Wetrich and Ethan Reando each posted a double.
Andres Negron paced the offense for the Vikings with two hits and an RBI. He batted in Jordan Hovey on a single into left-center field during the ninth inning for their lone run.
Spencer Juergens started for Jefferson, and gave up six runs while striking out five through 5 1/3 innings to receive the loss.
The Vikings expended three other pitchers during the remainder of the game. Siebenberger worked 2 1/3 innings and allowed a run, but also escaped a no-out jam with two runners in scoring position by striking out Draffen looking during the sixth.
Two Jefferson fielding errors during the first inning helped Mineral Area take an early 1-0 lead. The Vikings committed five total errors while the Cardinals had none.
Mineral Area kept up the pace to score in five separate innings and gradually pull away. It ended with 12 hits while holding the opposition to five.
Jefferson will play St. Louis on Saturday in an elimination game.