By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
The McDonald County Mustangs baseball team took the lead with three runs in the first inning then held on for a 5-2 victory over the Carl Junction Bulldogs on Wednesday afternoon.
Carl Junction pitcher Ethan Hatfield relieved Dalton Cloven in the first inning and retired the next eight batters. Hatfield allowed two runs and four hits over 62⁄3 innings.
“Ethan did a pretty good job,” Carl Junction coach Flave Darnell said. “We just couldn’t overcome some things in that first inning.”
Six of the first seven McDonald County batters reached base as Trenton Frazier was hit by a pitch, Zack Peck singled, Cooper Dill walked, Jake Wood and Evan Acuff singled and Jake Wilke walked.
Just like that, the Mustangs had a 3-0 cushion.
McDonald County pitcher Mark Hull took advantage, allowing only five hits and two runs over seven innings.
“The first inning was very important,” McDonald County assistant coach Tony Arthur said. “We jumped on top ... Mark (Hull) did a great job on the mound. He started rough, but finished strong.”
Carl Junction (9-13) cut the gap to 3-2 in the bottom of the second off hits by Zach Beyer and Dylan Avery-Smith, an error and two walks. However, the Bulldogs left the bases loaded.
“Their pitcher did a pretty nice job,” Darnell said. “He had one tough inning. We left them loaded and didn’t get that hit. He really settled down after that.
“They played good defense. The third baseman (Wilke) made some really nice plays.”
Hull allowed only two hits over the next five innings.
McDonald County (12-13) took advantage of two walks and a single in the top of the fourth to increase the lead to 4-2. The Mustangs added another insurance run in the top of the seventh when Trenton Frazier cracked a double down the right-field line to score Cooper Underwood.
“The defense played well,” Arthur said. “We hit the ball very well, too. We had very few strikeouts (three). Putting the ball in play is what you have to do in high school baseball.”
Carl Junction is scheduled to play its fourth game in four days against Nixa at home today. McDonald County is slated to have senior night at home today against East Newton.