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Trojans drop Bears in Mountain 7 baseball final

By DARRELL ELY, Sports Correspondent • May 26, 2018 at 2:06 AM

BRISTOL, Va. — Opportunistic John Battle took advantage of five Union errors en route to a 5-2 win over the Bears in the Mountain 7 baseball tournament championship game Friday night at Battle.

The Trojans scored all of their runs in the third inning on the way to their second straight district tournament championship.

After Union jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout by Brennan Jones in the top of the second, Battle responded in the home third.

Catcher Mikey Statti fouled off some tough pitches from Bears starter Cam Bartee before lining a two-strike pitch into right field to start the inning.

View the photo gallery from the game

“Hitting is contagious. (Statti) has been a spark plug for us all year and that really got us going,” Battle coach Jimmy Gobble said.

Leadoff man Jake Mumpower reached on an error before Isaac Deel tied the game with a run-scoring hit. Union made two more errors in the frame, including two on one play that gave the Trojans a lead they didn’t relinquish.

With the lead in hand, the Battle bullpen was nearly lights-out. Aaron Arnold and Landon Moore tossed the final five innings of the game, allowing a run on two hits while striking out 11 as part of a 13 punch-out performance by the Trojans’ staff.

The Bears pulled to within 5-2 on Mason Caldwell’s RBI single in the fourth inning, but Arnold and Moore combined to retire 12 of the final 14 hitters they faced to secure the crown.

Arnold finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, and Statti posted a 2-for-3 night with a run scored to lead Battle’s nine-hit effort.

Arnold earned the win on the mound after allowing one run on two hits in his three innings of relief work. The right-hander struck out five. Moore recorded the six-out save, five of them via strikeout.

“I’m proud of these boys for what these boys have accomplished to this point,” Gobble said. “We’ve worked hard for this opportunity. Hopefully we can execute the situations we need to in order to be successful.”

Union managed just three hits. Caldwell was the only Bears batter to reach more than once, finishing 1-for-2 with an RBI, a walk and one run scored.

“Their lineup is very good 1 through 9 and they are going to put the bat on the ball, and we just couldn’t do enough offensively to overcome our errors,” Union coach J.W. Salyers said. “Our sights are set for next week in terms of trying to set pitching and defensive options.”

UP NEXT

Both teams will play in next week’s Region 2D tournament. In Monday’s quarterfinals, Union travels to Tazewell and Battle hosts Grayson County.

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