FARMINGTON – A planned stretch of eight games in five days will surely test a Mineral Area Orioles baseball squad stockpiled with pitchers.
The 19-and-under Babe Ruth team utilized six arms on Thursday, and secured a home doubleheader sweep over the Cape Girardeau Post 63 Senior Legion.
South Iron star Brock Wakefield finished 4-for-4 from the leadoff spot in game one, and the Orioles rallied for a 7-6 triumph in walk-off fashion.
Connor Sullivan went 3-for-3 at the plate after a rough start on the mound, and left fielder Shelby Lee threw out two runners at home for Mineral Area.
Ayden Morgan added a couple of hits, and picked up his third RBI when the final pitch from reliever Gunner Crosnoe forced in the winning run with the bases loaded.
Justin Mattingly singled to begin the bottom of the seventh inning, and moved to third when Wakefield hammered his second double of game one into left-center field.
Wakefield was credited with the win after Mattingly allowed just one run on five hits and five walks while striking out three in six strong innings of relief.
Post 63 mounted a two-out rally in the top of the seventh. Walker Daum singled and eventually stole second and third bases after Ty Johnson walked on a full-count check swing.
Bradean Osburn was plunked by Wakefield to load the bases, and Daum crossed the dish on a ground ball in the shortstop hole that got past Morgan.
Lee backed up the play and fired home in plenty of time for catcher Max McKinney to tag out trailing runner Johnson as the potential go-ahead run.
Cape Girardeau grabbed a 4-0 lead after receiving five consecutive walks to open the contest. Sullivan faced the first four batters and missed the strike zone on 11 straight offerings.
Daum lifted a sacrifice fly, and Osburn singled over the third-base chalk against Mattingly after a ground ball was bobbled by Wakefield with two outs.
The Orioles answered with three tallies in the home half of the first inning. Wakefield doubled to left field, and Morgan doubled past an outstretched glove in right-center field.
Keagan Lawlor and Sullivan singled with two outs against Post 63 left-hander Caeden Knepp to bring Mineral Area within 4-3.
Mattingly limited the damage after issuing a bases-loaded walk to Huey in the third, and picked off a runner ahead of two singles in the fourth.
Sullivan singled home Tyler Thebeau to make it 5-5 in the bottom of the third after Lee ripped a double off the left-field fence and Morgan joined him on base with a bunt single.
Wakefield singled, stole second and broke toward home on a ground out by Morgan to hand the Orioles their first lead on a successful slide in the fifth.
Morgan earlier provided a key defensive highlight from his starting second base position. He lunged to tag the lead runner after fielding a two-hopper, then threw from his knees for a double play.
Osburn reached base on four straight occasions for Post 63. McKinney caught Crosnoe stealing following a one-out walk in the sixth.
Cape Girardeau also completed its own double play in the fourth, as Knepp pounced off the mound to catch a bunt by pinch-hitter Chip Barth in the air before throwing to first.
Game two featured a brisk pace by comparison, and the Orioles rolled 10-0 in five innings as Kamden Walter, Devin Seastrand and Lawlor combined for a three-hit shutout.
Walter capped a 2-for-3 effort with a bases-clearing double in the top of the fifth. The Orioles seized command with six runs in the third to snap a scoreless tie.
Wakefield put his club ahead 2-0 with a two-run double before crossing the plate on an error. Post 63 starter Zac Haggerty hit two batters after Tyler Thebeau looped a subsequent infield hit.
McKinney scored on a wild pitch, and later singled to begin the fifth. Morgan created a 7-0 advantage with a long double to center in the fourth off reliever Colin Tarry.
Walter retired seven of his nine batters faced, including six in a row, and struck out five as all Orioles hurlers were on strict performance limits.
Seastrand was pulled after 30 pitches, and worked around two inherited runners by covering the plate and tagging runner Hunter Hamilton when Sullivan retrieved a pitch in the dirt.
Lawlor fanned four of his five batters to close the victory. The Orioles traveled to Charleston on Friday for a weekend round-robin tournament.
Osburn, Hamilton and Huey singled for Cape Girardeau.