ROCHESTER – The boys from Mentone let everyone know, from Rochester to Converse, that state glory would be theirs. The Mudhens 8U baseball team had its offense in high gear, clubbing the Oak Hill Golden Eagles, 17-6, Monday evening to claim the Town & Country Minor State baseball championship.
After a top of the first inning that had Reed Jones assist on all three outs from the shortstop position, the Mudhens immediately put distance between themselves and the Eagles.
Jones started off the landslide with a base hit and later scored the first run. Braxton Yates later provided a huge hit, cracking a two-out, three-run double to open up a 5-0 lead. Mentone would end with six runs in the inning, then add five more runs on seven hits in the second inning. Sitting at 11-1, things looked pretty good to sweep Oak Hill.
The Eagles weren’t done, however. A two-run single by Noah Thompson drew Oak Hill back to five at 11-6, and all of a sudden, the championship game had a little more spice.
But as Mentone had done all tournament, when faced with a little adversity, the team responded. The Mudhens scored the limit – six runs – with all seven of its batters reaching safely in the third inning. Rules allow teams to score just six runs maximum per inning at the 8U level.
Up against the wall, Oak Hill was not able to scratch across a run in the fourth, grounding out then striking out twice as Mentone would walk off as tournament champions.
“Oak Hill came here to beat us, and we knew after the first game that they were going to come at us with a lot more effort,” said Mentone head coach Mervin Jones, whose club beat Oak Hill, 18-5, in the second round of the double elimination tournament. “We just told the kids it was another game and they came to play. I’m not surprised to see them win like this, they have done this all summer.”
Mentone finishes its summer competition season 20-1.
“This is a great group of kids who love the game of baseball,” stated Jones. “They worked really hard at getting better at baseball, and this is a great payoff.”