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Dobson’s 7 RBI night propels Mifflin County past Mount Union in slugfest

MOUNT UNION — Getting the perfect present for mom on her birthday is not an easy task. Most children would buy flowers, chocolate, or maybe even jewelry, but Mifflin County’s Bryce Dobson had other ideas. To help celebrate his mother’s birthday, the slugger drove in seven runs as Mifflin County won a battle over Mount Union by a score of 13-12 Tuesday in the Summer Independent League at Mount Union Area High School.

Fresh off of hurling five scoreless innings in a win against Huntingdon, Dobson wanted to prove that he could do more than just pitch and he did just that. Hitting in the two-hole, Dobson was presented with multiple opportunities to drive in runs, and he delivered in a big way.

“In the off days, I’ve been in the cage working a lot,” Dobson said. “I mostly go up to the plate and try to settle in a little bit — take the first couple of pitches if they’re not there. If they are there, I’ll attack the ball, put a good swing on it and put it in a gap somewhere.”

Mifflin County coach John McGonigle has been impressed with the way Dobson has played all season, but especially in the past two games.

“His first outing, on Saturday, was great … and (after) today, I think it should be his mom’s birthday every game,” McGonigle said jokingly. “You can’t complain about the effort he had out here. He hit the ball hard all day long, had the big three-run home run and 7 RBIs. He had a heck of a day. He comes ready to go. He does whatever you ask him to do and he’s willing to do it.”

In the second inning, Dobson ripped a single into left field, plating Colby Bodtorf and Brando Souders, giving Mifflin County an early 3-0 lead. He followed that at-bat with a monstrous three-run homer run into the trees behind the left field fence. To top off the night, Dobson drove in two more crucial runs with a single in the sixth.

Mifflin County proved to need all the help they could get.

After getting off to the 3-0 lead, Mifflin County surrendered a big inning to Mount Union, as they batted around, bringing home five runs and knocking pitcher Connor Cherry out of the game.

The two biggest blows in that inning were a two-run double by Dylan Gearhart and a two-run single from catcher Braylan Knable. Kobe Hand drove in the other run in the inning.

However, Mifflin County fired back, sending 11 batters to the plate in the following inning, plating six in response. Dobson’s home run was the highlight of the frame, which also featured a two-run double from Evan Smith and an RBI-single off the bat of Rylan Bailey.

Mifflin County retook the lead at 9-5 and never surrendered it, although it was far from smooth sailing to the end of the game. They added four more runs in the top of the sixth to push their lead to 11-7.

But, Mount Union refused to quit, scoring two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, making the score 13-9 entering the final frame.

“They’ve got some good ballplayers on that squad over there, some guys that are from their state championship team,” McGonigle said, referencing the high school team’s 2019 Class 3A PIAA championship. “We used three pitchers and all three pitchers did well.”

Cole Schlegel was the last of the three Mifflin County pitchers to make an appearance as he took the mound looking to close out the win and was greeted rudely by a single from Vince Lear. Schlegel settled in and struck out Tyler Renninger. From there, Mifflin County would commit two of its five errors on the night, both coming at inopportune times.

A bobbled ball at second allowed both runners to reach safely and a dropped fly ball in left field allowed Lear to score from second, cutting the lead down to three. J.T. Knepper drove in another run with an RBI single and Josh Fleck kept the rally going with a single of his own. Down by two with one out in the inning, Grayson McClain brought in a run with a sacrifice fly to center.

Trailing by just one run, with runners on first and second and two outs, Eathan Carbaugh stepped to the plate. Carbaugh, who finished the night with three hits and had a great night at the plate, struck out on an electric fastball from Schlegel, who finally closed the door on a whirlwind of a game.

McGonigle was impressed with the mental toughness his team showed over the course of the game. Even when it looked as if Mount Union were going to retake the lead late, Mifflin County was able to weather the storm and come out on top.

“It was a battle,” McGonigle said. “The never quit attitude that these guys have — that’s the second time we’ve been (losing) all year — but they didn’t stop. They kept on going.”

Mount Union coach Marty Walter was also proud of the effort his players put forward in the loss. Even when trailing by multiple runs, they clawed back into the game and almost walked away winners.

“They’re a good team.” Walter said. “They’ll always play to the end.”

Mifflin County now sits at 5-0 while Mount Union falls to 2-3.

Mifflin County 13, Mount Union 12

Mifflin County 120 604 0–13-16-5

Mount Union 005 022 3–12-12-2

WP: Cole Knable. LP: Josh Fleck. SV: Cole Schlegel. SO: Connor Cherry 3, Knable 2, Schlegel (MC); Tyler Renninger 3 (MU). HR: Bryce Dobson (MC). 3B: Eathan Carbaugh (MU). 2B: Rylan Bailey, Evan Smith (MC), Dylan Gearhart (MU). MH: Dobson 4-5, Colby Bodtorf 3-5, Bailey 2-4, Smith 2-4, Brando Souders 2-4 (MC); Carbaugh 3-5, Vince Lear 2-3, Fleck 2-5 (MU). RBI: Dobson 7, Bailey 2, Smith 2, Knable, Souders (MC); Gearhart 3, Knable 2, Grayson McClain, Carbaugh, Kobe Hand, Renninger, J.T. Knepper (MU).

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