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Tigers defeat Vinton County, Miami Trace

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Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

Saturday (April 13) and Monday (April 15) the McClain Tigers gained valuable wins on the baseball diamond by defeating Vinton County at home and the Miami Trace Panthers on the road for a Frontier Athletic Conference victory. 

On Saturday, the Tigers won at home by a 10-7 score over the Vikings of Vinton County for the non-conference victory. The Tigers totaled 15 hits and committed one error, while the Vikings finished the game with seven hits and two errors. 

Both the Tigers and Vikings each scored two runs in the first inning, followed by the Tigers scoring four runs in the bottom of the second. 

VCHS answered with three runs in the top of the third, while MHS came back with one run in the bottom of the third for a 7-5 score after three innings. 

Next, the Vikings scored two runs in the top of the fourth, and again McClain scored one run in their half of the fourth, leaving the Tigers in front by an 8-7 score. MHS added two final runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for the final 10-7 score. 

Of the 15 McClain hits on Saturday, the Tigers were led by Andrew Potts, as he was a perfect 4-of-4 with three runs with two RBI. 

Jayden Allison was 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Connor McCune finished the game 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. 

Also for the Tigers, Kaden Penwell was 2-for-3 with two runs, one RBI and one walk. Seth Weller also had a two-hit game, ending the day at 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. 

Owen Sykes was 1-for-3 with one run, and Benny Vangundy was 1-for-4 with one RBI. Eli Douglas drew a walk for McClain. 

The Tigers combined for four doubles, with Penwell having two two-base hits, while Sykes and Allison also each collected a double. Sykes was also hit by a pitch. 

McClain also finished with 14 steals, with Potts having five steals, while McCune, Douglas, Penwell and Sykes each had two steals, and Douglas had one steal. 

Vangundy was the winning pitcher, going seven innings on the mound. Vangundy allowed seven earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out six batters, as he threw a total of 113 pitches, 65 for strikes. 

    203 200 0 — 7 7 2 
MHS    241 102 x — 10 15 1 

Monday saw the Tigers earn another win, defeating the Miami Trace Panthers, following two big innings with a four-run fifth and five-run sixth inning for the 11-6 win. 

“Monday’s win at Miami Trace was great,” McClain head coach Kenny Branscom said. “I’ve been here for five years now, and we were a combined 0-7 before that against them.

“We’ve had three or four one-run losses during that stretch and really battled hard with them just couldn’t get over the hump but finally today we were able to get over the hump and put a good program with together for us."

In the game played at Miami Trace High School, the Panthers led early with a 2-0 lead after plating two runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Tigers tied the score with two runs in the top of the third, only to see Miami Trace regain a two-run lead following two runs crossing home plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

McClain answered with four runs in the top of the fifth, and MTHS countered with a run in the bottom of the same inning, leaving the Tigers ahead at 6-5.

The top of the sixth saw McClain plate five runs, and Miami Trace scored their final run in the bottom of the sixth for the final 11-6 score. 

McClain totaled 13 hits in their win, with no errors. The Panthers had 11 hits and one error. 

The 1-7 batters for McClain all had at least one hit in the FAC win, with lead-off hitter Kaden Penwell finishing 2-for-4 with three runs, one RBI and one walk. 

Seth Weller finished 3-for-4 with three runs, and teammate Andrew Potts was 1-for-4 with one run and one RBI. 

Jayden Allison went 3-for-4 with two runs, and four RBI, and the Tigers also saw Cohen Six finish 1-for-2 with one RBI and one walk. Owen Sykes finished the game at 1-for-4 with one run and two RBI. There was also Benny Vangundy going 2-for-4 with one RBI. McClain also had Eli Douglas force a walk and score a run. In all, the Tigers had 33 at-bats in the win. 

Sykes and Allison each had an extra-base hit for McClain, as both hitters had a double. Six was hit by a pitch, and Weller had a steal. 

Potts was the winning pitcher for McClain, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and three walks, while totaling four strikeouts. Potts finished with 106 pitches, 73 for strikes. 

Six pitched 1.1 innings, allowing no runs on one hit and no walks, with two strikeouts. 

“It was a senior-led game, and that helped a bunch," Branscom said. "We had a big six-run fourth inning that our senior catcher Jayden Allison got a two-out two-run single that tied the game up, and that was a big moment for us and got the momentum rolling.

“Andrew Potts, who has struggled some with his control put it all together in this one and got the win, he was really strong for us on the mound. Cohen Six came in and finished it up, so just a big win for us.”

The two wins improved McClain’s overall record to 5-6. 

    002 045 0 — 11 13 0 
MTHS    020 211 x — 6 11 1


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