Midd-West bats roll past Tornadoes
Mustangs erupt for six in 2nd inning
BEAVER SPRINGS — Things did not start out well for the Mustangs on Monday afternoon, with a towering, opposite field three-run blast by Mount Carmel’s Damon Dowkus putting Midd-West behind the eight-ball entering the second inning.
From there it was all Mustangs, as the Midd-West offense tore the cover off the ball, they were extremely aggressive on the basepaths and their pitchers worked out of some tough spots as the Mustangs made a statement with an 18-8 victory in six innings over the Red Tornadoes in a Heartland Conference Division II matchup in Beaver Springs.
The Mustangs (2-0) recorded 19 hits as Hunter Wolfley and Caden Wolfley drove in three runs, Brayden Swineford drove in two on a fourth-inning homer and four other Midd-West players drove in a run. Swineford finished a triple shy of the cycle in the victory.
Mount Carmel (1-1) got on the board quickly as Dowkus hit a bomb to right-center that landed beyond the fence and bounced high off the pavement and into the parking lot to give the Red Tornadoes a 3-0 lead, despite Griffin Paige striking out four batters in the first inning as the leadoff batter for Mount Carmel reached on a dropped third strike.
“We started off pretty rough,” Swineford said. “I think the way we responded is exactly the way we needed to respond. That will definitely get us going. We’re going to hopefully take this win to our next game.”
From there it was all Midd-West, as a six-spot in the second inning carried the Mustangs’ offense. Logan Rager and Caden Wolfley hit RBI singles and Swineford was able to steal home on a suicide squeeze attempt, as the pitch got away from the Mount Carmel catcher.
A two-run triple by Hunter Wolfley poured it on to cap the inning. He later scored the sixth run on the play as the throw to third base got away.
“I knew at that point in the game I needed to come up big,” Wolfley said. “They hit that three-run shot in the beginning and I got my chance, and we just closed the gap from there.”
The Mustangs constantly put pressure on the Mount Carmel defense and the aggressiveness paid off at times, with Swineford scoring in the second, and Camden Richard scoring in the fourth on an errant pickoff throw. Richard was picked off second base heading to third, but Mount Carmel pitcher Michael Reed spiked the throw to third, allowing Richard to score.
On the flip side, Richard was thrown out at third base in the first inning trying to go from first to third on a groundout to shortstop, while Caden Wolfley was called out trying to steal home on a hit-and-run in the third.
“These guys are resilient. They just go out and battle,” Midd-West coach Scott Wright said. “There’s no quit in them. They don’t give up. We’re going to be aggressive in all points of the game this year. We’re going after them hitting, we’re going to be running. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win ball games.”
Midd-West added on in the final four innings, as a two-run double by Caden Wolfley in the third, Swineford’s two-run home run to deep center field and a five spot on three hits in the sixth inning closed out the game.
“I think that we all just played some really good small ball,” Swineford said. “We put the ball where it needed to be. If one of us would get down, we’d tell them to keep their head up and to get the next one.”
The 19 hits were a big factor in the outcome, as seven Mustangs had at least two hits and seven Midd-West players had an RBI in the mercy-rule victory.
“This is by far, throughout my high school career, the most I’ve seen this team hit,” Wolfley said. “It was just insane today. One after another.”
With the dominant victory, Midd-West begins the 2021 season 2-0. The Mustangs have outscored opponents 27-9 in the two-game stretch.
“I think after the first win, we’re just getting a little bit more confident, and things are starting to roll,” Wolfley said. “This week we have two more games, and they will be some tough ones, but after this win tonight I think that we will be just fine.”
Midd-West will travel to Loyalsock on Wednesday and host Central Columbia on Friday.
Although it’s early, Wright believes his team has the makings of something special.
“These guys set a goal in the beginning of the season and they’re talking states,” Wright said. “We’ve got to get there. We have to play hard. We have to play hard every game and every inning. This is a team that can do that.”
Midd-West 18, Mount Carmel 8 (6)
MW 062 415 X — 18 19 5
MC 301 220 X — 8 9 4
WP: Julian Krainak. LP: Casen Sandri. SO: Griffin Paige 4, Garrett Leitzel 3, Logan Rager (MW); Michael Reed (MC). BB: Paige 3, Krainak 1, Rager (MW); Devin O’hearn 3, Reed 2, Sandri 2. HR: Brayden Swineford (MW); Damon Dowkus (MC). 3B: Hunter Wolfley, Preston Arbogast (MW). 2B: Camden Richard, Swineford, Logan Rager, Caden Wolfley (MW); Casen Sandri, Jullian Stellar (MC). MH: Hunter Wolfley 2-5, Richard 3-3, Paige 3-5, Arbogast 2-5, Swineford 3-4, Caden Wolfley 2-3, Trey Wagner 2-3 (MW); Dowkus 2-3 (MC). RBI: H. Wolfley 3, Wolfley 3, Swineford 2, Richard, Paige, Arbogast, Rager (MW); Dowkus 4, Sandri, Stellar (MC).