Kernels use big third inning to surge past Huron
One day after leaving 18 runners on base in an 11-inning marathon loss, the Mitchell High School baseball team had a chance to redeem itself against Huron on Wednesday at Cadwell Park.
Initially, it was more of the same for the Kernels, as they managed to load the bases in the first two innings—including with one out in the second—and only mustered one run.
But in the fourth inning, Mitchell finally cashed in for five runs to take the lead and eventually pulled away from Huron for a 7-3 win.
"You're just waiting for somebody to explode in those situations to take the monkey off our back," MHS head coach Luke Norden said. "(Against Roosevelt), we had situations like that and weren't able to capitalize. We just needed somebody to step up. The good thing is, we continue to give ourselves those opportunities, we just have to continue to focus and work hard and it'll come for us."
Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth, Drew Bollinger walked and Jared Miller singled to start the inning. Carson Max would walk on the next at-bat and Bollinger scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
Austin Kerr singled on the ensuing at-bat, while Huron couldn't handle a Drew Kitchens ground ball that would score Miller and Max. Kerr later scored on a passed ball as the Kernels vaulted in front for a 6-2 lead.
"We're so much better offensively when we get guys on base and we can call some plays," Norden said. "We get a guy on base and we hit-and-run and Jared Miller does a wonderful job of hitting the ball to right field. We go from a guy on first to a guy on first and third with no outs. Guys just have to understand how much better we are in those situations."
Kitchens finished with three RBIs and two runs, while Carter Max went 1-for-2 with an RBI and Miller was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Kitchens was also stellar on the mound for most of the game. He pitched six innings, allowing three runs on three hits, while striking out three. The only inning he found himself in trouble was the third, when he gave up one hit and three of his four walks in the game, allowing Huron to score two runs.
"When they scored a couple runs, he just had a hard time finding the strike zone," Norden said. "He did a really good job of adjusting and was able to get through six innings. His best inning was the inning after he walked a couple guys."
Koby Larson picked up the save, pitching a perfect seventh inning for Mitchell, which hosts Douglas in a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Cadwell Park.