BILL LUSK | WVOW Sports
MAN Braxton Messer and Cam Gerace combined to throw a two-hit shutout as Man (2-0) defeated Mingo Central (0-3) 17-0 in five innings Tuesday evening at Man’s William “Tootie” Carter Athletic Field.
Messer allowed two hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out 11 in 4 2/3 innings. Gerace struck out the only batter he faced in the fifth inning.
“He (Braxton) has been a pleasant surprise,” Man coach Mike Crosby said. “He has come over as a freshman and he has a lot of talent.”
Messer allowed a one out single in the first and didn’t allow another hit until a leadoff single to start the fourth.
“He (Messer) is a good pitcher,” Mingo Central coach Jacob Staton said. “We were so early in our swings, but he done a good job of commanding the game.”
Man led 4-0 after two innings and broke the game open with a six-run third inning. The Hillbillies tacked on seven more runs in the fourth inning. Man has scored four or more runs in an inning three times this season in two games, including a four-run second on Monday against Scott.
Six different players recorded a hit for Man as the Hillbillies registered 10 hits and took advantage of seven Mingo Central errors to plate 17 runs.
“Don’t let the runs mislead you, we didn’t hit the ball as well as I thought we should,” Crosby said. “A lot of squibbers here and there, and only a few actually barreled the ball up and drove it.”
Brady Hall-Montgomery collected three doubles, scored three times, and drove in four runs at the plate for Man, while Jace Adkins had a pair of triples, scored twice, and drove in a pair of runs. Bo Thompson had two hits including a double and an RBI for the Hillbillies.
Preston Blankenship had one hit and drove in two runs and Colton Miller had a hit, scored twice and drove in one run. Messer had one hit and Caleb Vance drove in two runs and scored three times for Man.
“Based on what I am seeing, I am still not happy with the bats, but that is every year,” Crosby said. “We always start off hitting the ball slow in the beginning.”
Man utilized its speed on the base paths taking advantage of the Miners miscues. The Hillbillies also stole eight bases in the contest with Gavyn Cline swiping three bases, Hall-Montgomery and Drake Veres each stealing two bases and Hayden Fraley one base.
“They had some tough luck tonight and the ball bounced the wrong way for them sometimes,” Crosby said. “We were able to use our speed to advance on the bases and take advantage of it.”
Man plated three runs in the first inning as Adkins tripled to lead off the bottom of the first for Man and scored when Blankenship reached on an error.
Hall-Montgomery doubled to score Cline making it 2-0, and later scored when Veres reached on an error making it 3-0 after one inning of play.
Man tacked on a single run in the second as Hall-Montgomery reached base safely on an error allowing Vance to score extending the Hillbillies lead to 4-0.
Man scored six two-out runs in the third inning extend its lead to 10-0. Vance started the scoring with a two-out bases loaded walk to score Thompson, who led off the third with a double, to make it 5-0.
Fraley scored on an error and Miller scored on a throwing error to make it 7-0. Hall-Montgomery had a two-run double to plate Vance and Cline to make it 9-0. Hall-Montgomery then scored on an error to give Man a 10-0 lead.
The Hillbillies plated seven runs in the fourth. Miller started the scoring with a single to plate Veres making it 11-0.
Adkins followed with a two-run triple to score Fraley and Miller to extend the lead to 13-0. Adkins scored on a fielding error to give Man a 14-0 lead.
Blankenship doubled to center to plate Vance and extend the lead to 15-0 and Hall-Montgomery’s third double of the evening scored Cline to make it 16-0. Thompson rounded out the scoring with a single to center plating Hall-Montgomery for the final run of the evening for Man.
Chris Ross singled in the first and Tyler Mitchem singled in the fourth for the only hits of the contest for Mingo Central.
“Both (Mitchem and Ross) are just sophomores and you got to count on those kids, and you got to have them in your lineup,” Staton said. “They are probably the best two kids we got, and we got to count on them to get some hits.”
Aiden Dove suffered the loss after allowing 11 runs, three earned, on five hits in three innings. Dove walked four and struck out one. Aaron Blankenship allowed six runs on five hits and walked one in one inning of work.
“Probably the first time Aiden has been on the mound in two years,” Staton said. “He threw strikes, but we didn’t back had up.”
“It was a tough outing, we had a bunch of errors, mental errors and physical errors,” Staton said. “You expect them to make the play when the ball comes to you, but we didn’t and that is why the score was what it was.”
Mingo Central will look for their first win of the season Saturday when they travel to Pikeview for a doubleheader.
“We would like to turn this thing around and get back in the win column,” Staton said.
Man will travel to Tolsia Thursday looking for its third win to start the season.
“You are always happy with the win and I am trying to lighten up on being demanding and nitpicking,” Crosby said. “I am trying to allow them to have more fun.”
“I was happy with the win last night (Scott), and the boys battled incredibly,” Crosby said. “We had a little bit of a letdown tonight, but I guess that was to be expected as hard as they fought last night.”
Mingo 0 0 0 0 0- 0 2 7
Man 3 1 6 7 X- 17 10 0
Dove, Blankenship (4) and Conley. Messer, Gerace (5) and Blankenship. Top hitters- MC: Ross 1-1; Mitchem 1-2. M: Hall-Montgomey 3-4, 3 doubles, 3 runs, 2 SB, 4 RBI; Adkins 2-4, 2 triples, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Thompson 2-3, double, RBI; Blankenship 1-4, double, 2 RBI; Miller 1-2, 2 runs, RBI; Vance 0-3, 3 runs, 2 RBI; Cline 3 runs, 3 SB.