Prep baseball: Cougars defeat ’Jacks

NEW MATAMORAS – Mitch Minder tossed a three- hitter and the Frontier offense pounded out 11 base hits as the Cougars downed the visiting Valley Wetzel (WV) Lumberjacks 9-2 in a six inning, non-conference contest shortened by darkness Friday evening.

Minder allowed all three Valley singles in the fourth inning that produced the only two Lumberjack runs of the game.

“He’s (Minder) just come in all season and thrown strikes for us,” said second year Cougar head coach Erin Curtis. “He’s a real competitor and has pitched some pretty tough games for us.”

The Cougars staked Minder to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when second baseman Levi Cochran delivered a clutch, two-out, two-run double to left field.

The Cougars used some aggressiveness on the base paths to take a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

Shortstop Drew Schneider and Minder opened the inning with back-to-back singles.

With Josh Kirkbride at the plate, Schneider broke for third and when Kirkbride bounced out to shortstop, Schneider never broke stride and raced home with the Cougars third run of the game.

Minder held the Lumberjacks hitless over the first three innings but allowed a lead-off single in the fourth to Brandon Stoneking.

Palmer followed with a single to left and after Minder fanned the next two Valley hitters, Brock Stockpole legged out an infield single to plate one run and Palmer raced all the way home from second to cut the Cougar lead to 3-2.

Stoneking was the starter on the mound for Valley Wetzel and was replaced on the hill by Tyler Hayes in the fourth inning.

The Cougars wasted little time getting to Hayes as after the first hitter was retired, five consecutive Frontier hitters collected base hits.

Austin Amos collected the first of those hits but was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.

Jay Eddy and Schneider followed with back-to-back singles before Minder helped himself with an RBI double.

Kirkbride followed with a two-run single to make it 6-2 before Kris Comstock lined to shortstop to end the inning.

The Cougars continued to increase their margin in the last of the fifth as they took advantage of some wildness on behalf of the Lumberjack pitchers to score three more times.

Walks to Dylan O’Neal and Cochran started the inning and Amos was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Eddy’s infield single made it 7-2 and Schneider was hit by a pitch to force in another run before Minder grounded out to shortstop to knock in the ninth and final Cougar run of the game.

Minder, who allowed no hits in five of the six innings that he toed the rubber, got plenty of support from his defense, including a spectacular diving stop and assist by Comstock at third base in the fifth.

“Tonight we made all the routine plays and some tough ones as well,” said Curtis of his defense. “That was a big key.”

Schneider’s three hits paced the Cougar attack, while Eddy, Minder, and Kirkbride all chipped in with a pair of hits in the game. Curtis was glad to see Schneider come up with a big night at the plate.

“He’s been hitting the ball real well, just right at somebody,” said Curtis of Schneider, who also drove in a run and scored a pair. “He pounded the ball tonight.”

Minder walked just two hitters and struck out four to earn the victory, while Stoneking was saddled with the loss.

Frontier improved to 6-10 on the season with the win while the Lumberjacks slipped to 2-8.

The Cougars will be right back in action Saturday as they host Cameron for a double header scheduled to start at noon.