By Kyle Lovern
WILLIAMSON – The Tug Valley Panthers got a little revenge on the Mingo Central Miners as they held on to defeat their local rival 7-6 in baseball action Wednesday evening at Lefty Hamilton Park in West End.
The Miners had defeated the Panthers earlier this season.
The game went back and forth for seven innings as both first-year head coaches Seth Ooten of Tug Valley and Josh Sammons of Mingo Central tried to pull out the win for their respective teams.
Tug Valley took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 3rd inning on a Tyler Estepp RBI double and another double by David Runyon to bring in a run.
In the top of the 4th inning Ethan Hager smacked a triple and scored on a Josh Spry RBI single to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Spry, who was pitching for the Panthers, helped his own cause with the timely base hit.
In the bottom of the 4th frame, Kenny Allen led off with a walk to get things started for the Miners. Then Todd Slone lined a single to center and went to 2nd base on an error, which put two runners in scoring position with nobody out.
However, Spry was able to pitch out of the jam, striking out the next two batters and getting another to fly out.
Mingo Central tied the game in the bottom of the 5th inning when Michael Dotson sliced a single to right center. Then Thomas Harmon beat out a bunt single. Miner’s starting pitcher Mitch Bobbera reached on a fielder choice, but Dotson was able to score on a throwing error.
Bobbera stole 2nd base and went to 3rd base on a throwing error. He scored when Allen lined an RBI single to left center field to tie the game at 3-3.
The Panthers regained the lead in the top of the 6th inning when Hager lined a single to right field for his second hit of the game. Then Spry reached on a fielder’s choice and Hager was eventually able to motor home on an infield hit by Phillip Lucas to make it 4-3
With two outs in the inning, Jordan Kiser had a single and Lucas reached 3rd base, after stealing second. Then Kiser was caught in a rundown between 1st and 2nd base on a pickoff attempt by Bobbera. Lucas was able to reach home plate before the third out was recorded, which gave the Panthers a 5-3 lead.
Mingo Central tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Jamie Harrison walked and Dotson sliced a double to center field. Both Harrison and Dotson scored on two throwing errors by Tug Valley. The Miners tied the game at 5-5 due to the fielding miscues.
Thomas Harmon came in to relieve Bobbera in the top of the 7th inning for MCHS. With two outs, he walked Estepp. Estepp then stole 2nd base and scored on a pair of throwing errors to give TVHS a 6-5 lead.
Tug Valley then scored a much-needed insurance run. This run proved to be big later in the last inning. Corbin Oliver reached on a base hit and scored on an RBI double by Runyon to make it 7-5.
Spry struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the final inning. Tug Valley was only one out away from a win. But, Allen kept Mingo Central’s hopes alive with a double. Then Todd Slone smashed an RBI single to right center to score Allen to cut the lead to 7-6.
Matt Christian came in as a pinch runner for Slone. He got caught in a rundown after taking a big lead at 1st base. He was tagged out for the third and final out and Tug Valley held on to win 7-6.
Spry was the winning pitcher, while Harmon was the hard-luck loser on the mound for the Miners.
Tug Valley starts Class A sectional tournament play on Monday , May 12, at home hosting Man. The second game will be played at Man on Tuesday. If a third game is needed in the double elimination sectional, a coin toss will determine the site for the third game scheduled for Wednesday. If rain postpones any of the games, they will be moved up a day.
Mingo Central will take on Tolsia at Wayne on Monday in the Class AA sectional. The winner of that game will play the highly ranked Pioneers in the nightcap. The coaches voted to make this sectional a single elimination tourney.
From Monday, May 5th
Tug Valley 15, Tolsia 2
Winning pitcher, Tyler Estepp; 13 K’s
Tug Valley 16, Tolsia 1
Winning pitcher, Ethan Hager, 11 K’s
Hager threw a 5-inning no-hitter
Only one unearned run was allowed
Tuesday, May 6th
Chapmanville 11, Mingo Central 0
No stats or details were available
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)