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HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Grinder finally goes Wildcats’ way

Mountain View sophomore pitcher Dylan Hall made a late break toward first base on a grounder by Colonial Forge’s Michael Nickles in the fifth inning of a nonconference baseball game Thursday night.

Hall’s slow reaction to cover the bag meant David Slupek’s toss was a bit ahead of him. Hall was forced to make a diving grab and tag first base for the third out of the inning.

“It would’ve been an easier play if I had broken off a little earlier,” Hall said afterward.

The youthful Wildcats have made very little look easy this season. But instead of lamenting another narrow defeat, Mountain View escaped Colonial Forge High School with a 5–4 win over the Eagles to improve to 6–8 on the season.

Hall’s play stopped the Eagles’ momentum in a four-run fifth inning as Colonial Forge (7–3) attempted to overcome a 5–0 deficit but ultimately fell short.

The Wildcats breathed a sigh of relief after experiencing two one-run losses earlier in the week.

“Normally we end up losing that game,” Mountain View coach Craig Lopez said. “But this is definitely a game to build off of because we finally did enough to right to win it, instead of just enough to lose it.”

A four-run second inning certainly helped Mountain View’s cause. It came one frame after the Eagles had the bases loaded with no outs but failed to score. Mountain View recorded three hits in its big inning but was also helped by two Colonial Forge errors.

“We had a chance in the bottom of the first with bases loaded and no outs with the meat of the order coming up and we couldn’t put the ball in play,” Colonial Forge coach Shawn Szakelyhidi said. “In the top of the second they got second and third with one out and they were able to put the ball in play. So the difference in the game was the bottom of the first and the top of the second.”

Jacob Pollock, Sean Morgan and Jake Hall recorded two hits each for the Wildcats. Pollock, Jacob Menders and Alex Smith each had an RBI.

Menders also closed out the game at pitcher by allowing just one hit in the final two innings. After Colonial Forge’s Jack Wallingford led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, Menders forced Owen Schneider into a key double-play. Schneider’s sharp liner was caught by Slupek, who tagged first base before Wallingford could reach it.

“I was psyched,” Menders said of that sequence. “I was so excited. That really got me pumped right there.”

Mountain View failed to earn an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning, setting the stage for a potential Colonial Forge comeback.

Menders walked Eagles’ standout Cole Migliorini to lead off the inning, but settled down afterward. He forced John Gardner into a ground ball and Migliorini was out at second base. Shawn Nickles then hit a fly ball to foul territory that was caught in left field and Davian Escobar ended the game with a short pop-up to first base.

“It’s nice to have your 3–4–5 guys coming up in the seventh but once again we missed an opportunity,” Szakelyhidi said. “We have to figure out a way to get a timely hit.”

Gardner and Gabe Schilke each delivered an RBI single for the Eagles in the fourth inning.

Colonial Forge hosts Patriot Thursday. Mountain View visits Liberty Tuesday.

R H E

Mountain View 0400 100 5 10 2

Colonial Forge 0000 400 4 8 2

SEAN MORGAN, Dylan Hall (5), Jacob Menders (6) and Alex Smith. LOGAN BARKER, Will Deboesser (3), Austin West (5), Kevin Farley (6) and Gabe Schilke.

 

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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