The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

July 27, 2012

Miners rally past Hillcrest, advance to zone tournament championship round

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Joplin and Springfield Hillcrest American Legion baseball teams waged a tight struggle in the winners’ bracket final of the Missouri Zone 3 Tournament on Thursday night.

Joplin pulled out a 9-7 victory to advance into the championship round starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Carl Lewton Stadium.

The Miners, 34-17, scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to snap a 7-7 deadlock.

Losers’ bracket games today are Carthage vs. Nevada at 5 p.m. and the winner vs. Hillcrest at 8.

Said Joplin coach Bobby Stackhouse: “Keys were Bryce Ash’s relief pitching and our manufacturing runs.

“Bryce, working in relief of Caleb (fellow right-hander Caleb Garton), gave up a run and three hits.

“In the seventh and ninth innings, we had good approaches at the plate. We also had clutch hitting from a lot of different players,” Stackhouse said.

Thursday’s opening games were eight-inning affairs. Joplin beat Carthage 10-0 and Hillcrest hurdled Nevada 14-4.

Joplin 10, Carthage 0

Submarine right-hander Blake Brown tossed a three-hitter and the Ash brothers — Bryce and Tristan — sparkled on offense for the Miners.

Brown, who’ll be a senior at Joplin High School, threw 108 pitches, struck out six, hit two batters and didn’t issue a pass.

Said Stackhouse: “Blake attacks the strike zone, keeps the ball down and changes speeds now and then.”

Brown worked three hitless innings to close out the game.

The Miners hit Jason McVey’s Merchants with a five-run second inning.

Bryce and Tristan each had two hits and three RBI. Bryce, who’s signed with Missouri Valley primarily as a middle infielder, had a double. Tristan, who’ll be a junior at JHS, drilled a triple.

Chris Leonardi added two hits for the Miners.

Carthage hits were supplied by Jonathan Terry, Sawyer Shepherd and Mason Goade.

Hillcrest 14, Nevada 4

Merchant left-hander Tyler Ray was backed by a 15-hit attack that started at the top of the order.

Dallas Williams, who led off, was 2-for-2 with four walks and four runs scored.

No. 2 batsman Jerrod Harmon was 5-for-5 — all singles — with a walk. He scored four runs and drove in three.

Hillcrest was ahead 7-1 after three innings. Ray finished with a seven-hitter.

Hillcrest also received three hits from Nate Turner and three RBI from Logan Anderson.

Harmon, in left field, and center fielder Joel Lewallen turned in fielding gems. Lewallen spiced his performance with a single and solo home run.

Nevada received two hits apiece from Grant Davis and Calab Kauffman. Davis also drew two walks.

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