In game four of the Area IV quarterfinals Wednesday night at East Lincoln High School, Lincoln County Post 455 lost to Mint Hill 11-9.
In a high-scoring contest, where both teams had six run innings at one point in the game and combined for 24 total hits, Mint Hill Post 4059 was able to come away with the win and clinch the series 3 games to 1 to advance to the Area IV semifinals.
After going into the seventh inning leading by two runs, Lincoln County couldn’t hold the lead as Mint Hill rallied with clutch hitting and a little bit of luck to score six runs, which ended up deciding the game and the series.
Post 455’s leading offensive players were Matty Jorgensen, who had two hits and three RBI’s and Dylan Dodson who also had two hits.
Lincoln County starting pitcher Karson Williams battled throughout the night working 6.1 innings, allowing eight runs, including two unearned. Williams struck out three batters and gave up 10 hits.
Mint Hill opened up the game swinging with two runs in the first inning. Bubba Comer led off the game with a single to left field. He would then come in to score on an RBI double to left-center field from Mike Dansky, who would also score later on in the inning on a passed ball.
Lincoln County got on the board in the second inning on an RBI sacrifice-fly to right field off the bat of Nate Callahan that scored Gabe Duncan, who led off with a single.
Mint Hill was given a run in the third inning, after a throwing error to third base on a stolen base attempt allowed Dansky to score and give the visitors a 3-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, Mint Hill doubled its lead on an RBI single from Matt Mangum, scoring Caleb Embry. Later in the frame, Embry would score on an RBI sacrifice-fly to left field from Corbin Berkivies.
Lincoln County came into the bottom of the fourth inning down 5-1, and ended it up 7-5. After scoring their first run of the inning on a balk, Williams helped himself out with an RBI single to left field scoring Dodson. Jorgensen then came up with the bases loaded and launched a 3-RBI double to right-center field, and he would later come in to score on a Logan Philemon RBI single to left field.
Williams retired six of the seven batters he faced in the fifth and sixth innings to keep the two-run lead intact heading to seventh, but it was not to be for the Cardinals, as baseball was cruelling to them late Wednesday night.
After a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt, Danksy and Howie came up and had back-to-back RBI hits to tie the game up at seven with one out. Post 455 head coach Bruce Bolick then elected to use Noah Sigmon out of the bullpen to try and end the threat. After recording a pop out to second base, Sigmon got Matt Mangum to hit a lazy fly ball to right field that looked to be the inning ender. But unfortunately for the Cardinals, the ball dropped as the right fielder never saw the ball off the bat, which allowed two Mint Hill runners to score.
To make things worse for Lincoln County, Berkives came up and launched a two-run double to left field to give Mint Hill a commanding 11-7 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Lincoln County, like they have done all year in the playoffs, didn’t go down easy.
They scored two runs in the bottom frame, on an errant throw to third that sent Jorgensen home and an RBI single up the middle from Nate Callahan scoring Philemon. The Cardinals were able to get the tying run to the plate, but Mint Hill relief pitcher Ryan Mangum was able to record a pop out to second base to close out the game.
Mangum picked up the win for Mint Hill, while Williams took the loss for Lincoln County.
Lincoln County finishes the season at 15-16, while Mint Hill (20-6) will begin their five-game series against the Gaston Braves, who defeated Asheville in the quarterfinals 3-1, on Friday.
Mint Hill 201 200 6 - 11 12 3
Lincoln Co. 010 600 2 - 9 12 3