Late inning thwarts Jackets
A crushing top of the seventh inning – in which the New Diana Eagles generated four runs off of six base hits – ended the Mineola Yellowjackets 2021 playoff run. The game went into the …
Late inning thwarts Jackets
A crushing top of the seventh inning – in which the New Diana Eagles generated four runs off of six base hits – ended the Mineola Yellowjackets 2021 playoff run. The game went into the seventh inning tied 3-3 and ended with a 7-4 defeat for the Jackets Saturday afternoon at Kilgore’s Driller Park.
Jack Heard got the start for Mineola. Before getting shelled in the seventh, Heard had thrown an effective game. Through six innings he had given up three runs on six hits, with two walks and one strike-out.
The Jackets took an early 1-0 lead. Coy Anderson led off with an infield hit and scored after three walks pushed him across. In a huge lost opportunity, Mineola left the bases loaded in the first.
In the second, with a New Diana runner on third base, a great throw from Riley Fowler in short right field prevented the Eagle base runner from scoring.
The Eagles did tie the game in the top of the third. A base hit, a passed ball and a tag on a sacrifice fly ball scored the run.
In their best offensive production of the day, the Jackets took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half of the third. Caleb Gant’s double scored Cason Davis. Gant then raced home on a wild pitch.
New Diana pitching had some challenges. Their starter was pulled after walking the lead-off hitter in the second. He had trouble finding the strike zone and had issued four walks while facing eight Yellowjacket hitters. The second Eagle pitcher threw two innings but was likewise yanked for erratic deliveries. Pitching duties then fell to Darren Manes, who shut down the Jackets, yielding only two hits over the last four innings.
The Eagles tied the game in the fifth. Their lead-off batter registered an infield hit with a high-hopper that bounced over Jacket third baseman Kaden Bell. A triple then scored the base runner. New Diana added a second run on a fielder’s choice ground ball.
Both teams went down in short order in the sixth, setting up yet another game (the third in a row) to be decided in the seventh inning.
Despite being yet effective in the sixth, it was clear that Heard was nearly spent. New Diana opened the seventh with a line drive single to center. After a fly ball out, the flood gates opened. The Eagles tallied five consecutive base hits through the middle of the diamond. Bell came in to relieve Heard. Bell gave up a base hit before securing the second and third outs.
The Jackets were in a huge hole, down by four runs. Bell reached by swinging at a wild pitch and racing to first on the third strike. He moved to third on Spencer Joyner’s double to the right field corner. New Diana was happy to trade the ensuing run on a fielder’s choice to get the second out.
The final was 7-4, in a game much closer than the final score indicated. In the end, it was the offensive punch of New Diana, and conversely a lack of Mineola base runners which spelled the difference.
Joyner led the Jackets offensively with two infield hits and an RBI double. Defensively, Thomas Hooton made the play of the game by coming a long way to make a tough catch on a drive in right-center field.
Joyner’s double in the seventh and Hooton’s catch at a full sprint to shut down the fourth will certainly carry the Jackets forward to their next campaign.