Meridian Star

Sports

May 23, 2014

Mugshots takes Phil Harden 11 and 12 title

MERIDIAN — Zane Pritchard notched three base hits, including a pair of two-run home runs, to help Mugshots slip past Dr. Hodge, 11-6, in the championship game of the Phil Harden Major League 11-and-12-year-old division.

“This is just as fun as it can be,” Pritchard said. “When you have a team that works together like ours did, it makes it really enjoyable. This is a great feeling, and I’ve won championships before, but winning never gets old.”

Powered by Pritchard’s two home runs and his arm on the mound, Mugshots (15-2) managed to jump out to a 6-0 advantage after three innings.

“He had a very good night,” Mugshots coach Chuck Butler said. “He threw the ball very well and threw a lot of strikes. He also swung the bat very well, and hit the ball hard, and (both happened)to get out of the park. Those are his first two of the year, and I think it couldn’t happen to a better kid.”

Thanks to a few exceptional defensive plays, including diving stop and force out at second base by shortstop Will Swift, Dr. Hodge managed to stay within striking distance.

In the top of the fifth, Dr. Hodge managed to tie the game, 6-6, and scored all of its runs with two outs in the inning. The frame was highlighted by Miller Hodge’s run scoring double, and Daulton Nelson’s and Swift’s RBI base hits.

“They played with a lot of heart,” Dr. Hodge coach Benji Carpenter said. “Not just today, but these last three games (that got us here). We tried to save pitching (in a previous game), but we had a game go into extra innings, and had to waste a pitcher that we shouldn’t have had to. We had to battle to the whole time.”

In that frame, Dr. Hodge scored a run on a coach’s interference, when Butler was deemed to have interfered with a Dr. Hodge baserunner in between third base and home.

“I guess I was just standing too close to the line,” Butler said. “The runner was using me as a shield and hiding from our players. I was called for obstruction.”

In the bottom half of the frame,  Mugshots would take advantage of five walks that led to a six-run inning. In that rally, Leighton Jenkins smacked a lead off triple and Justin Tisdale roped a single to left that scored a run.

“Playing the game of baseball is fun,” Butler said.  “But it is a whole lot more fun when you are on the winning side of it.”

As the season comes to a close, both coaches reflected on what has been a positive year for their players.

“The kids learned a lot this year,” Carpenter said. “I just hoped they learned how to be a team. It’s not about one individual; it’s about being a team.”

Added Butler, “These kids improved throughout the year and did a great job.”

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