East Union had a tough day at the plate, falling in their division match-up with Mantachie on Tuesday.
The Urchins found themselves in a hole early, walking three batters, hitting one and allowing one hit as the Mustangs took a 3-0 lead.
“We just got behind early, and it's hard to come back when you're facing one of the better pitchers around,” East Union Head Coach Chris Basil said. “We've been swinging well lately, so I'm disappointed with our approach. We just weren't aggressive at the plate.”
It took the Urchins until the fourth inning to register their first hit against Collin Minga, a two-out double by Chandler Coleman that plated Blake Spruill. Until that point, Minga had struck out seven and walked one, and he would pitch the complete game, finishing with 11 strikeouts and allowing only two hits total.
“He can change the speed and throws a sharp, breaking curve ball,” Basil said of Minga. “When you have three pitches that you can consistently throw for strikes, you're going to be a very good high school pitcher, and that's what we faced.”
Mantachie added to their lead in the sixth off a two-run home run by Chance Cooley, making it 7-1, which would be the final. Shawn Thompson had multiple hits for the Mustangs, as they finished with seven hits, and the Urchins committed three errors.
Cody Dillard had the loss on the mound, allowing seven runs off four hits with seven strikeouts and was relieved by Coleman with two outs in the sixth.
With the loss, East Union drops to 3-3 in division play, but with two weeks remaining in the regular season, Basil is hopeful of his team's chances at making the postseason and being successful.
“It's been a struggle all year,” he said. “We've had key players out and have looked to the younger kids to step up, and they're not ready for that yet. With that said, I still think we're capable of making a run, and I really think these kids have the ability to do something in the playoffs.”
One of the players that has recently returned to the lineup is Dustin Pratt. The sophomore sustained an arm injury earlier this season and is gradually working his way back into the lineup.
“This is the third game we've had him back, and he's a great hitter, so we're glad to have him back, but we miss him in the field,” Basil said. “He's probably one of the best defensive players I've ever coached, and it's hard to lose someone of that caliber.”
East Union will play their next three on the road, starting with Baldwyn on Friday. The Urchins will return home next Tuesday, April 12, hosting Hickory Flat.