Mt. Pleasant baseball stays in title contention
For the Mt. Pleasant baseball team, every game is important for the rest of the season — especially if the Vikings hope to win the Section 2-AAA championship. On Friday, Mt. Pleasant stayed atop the standings by grinding out a 4-1 victory over visiting Derry.
“We knew it was a big game,” Mt. Pleasant coach Tom Hudzema said. “We have to play with that pressure, and that's good for us.”
The loss was a blow to the Trojans' playoff chances, and the game certainly didn't start off well for them. In the bottom of the first, Derry pitcher Robbie Hebenthal was knocked from the game after taking a line drive in the leg off the bat of Shane Hertzog. Brock Westerbeck, Frank Wolford and Eric Reitz pitched well in relief.
“Our pitching has been great all year,” coach John Flickinger said. “That's been the best part of our team.”
His hitters were not as effective. Mt. Pleasant's Tyler Mellors fought through a couple of rough patches to post a complete game, allowing three hits. He struck out four and walked five.
“Mellors was a little rusty,” said Hudzema, noting that it had been a week since Mellors had been on the mound. “This was a good tuneup for him.”
Mt. Pleasant (11-4, 8-2) jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second when Sean Bradley's double scored Mellors and Rudy Hynek. The runs were charged to Westerbeck, who was tagged with the loss.
Derry (6-6, 3-6) got all three of its hits in the third, and it resulted in a run when Reitz doubled in Blake Pakos to cut Mt. Pleasant's lead to 2-1. The Trojans had a chance to tie the score in the second but left a runner at third. In the fifth, Mellors walked the bases loaded but got out of it with a groundout, strikeout and flyout.
“The bottom line is we didn't get the runners in,” Flickinger said. “That's been a thorn in our side all year.”
The Vikings added a little insurance in the fifth when Zac Heide doubled in a run and Seth Wright came through with a two-out, RBI single. Mt. Pleasant killed a Derry rally by turning an around-the-horn double play in the sixth. Mellors closed it out by retiring the side in order in the seventh.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.