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Mid-Prairie’s pitching staff controlled West Branch all Monday night, but two hits and an untimely error helped split the doubleheader between the two.
In game one, Mid-Prairie left nine on base as they lost 4-2. Keegan Gingerich got the start on the mound and was on fire early. He struck out 12 in five and two-thirds innings of work.
Mid-Prairie was the first on the board as Brad Tornow singled to lead off the game and three straight walks allowed him to score and Mid-Prairie loaded the bases with no outs. After a mound visit, the next three Mid-Prairie batters were out and the inning ended.
West Branch didn’t have a base runner until the third inning, but after a leadoff double by Matt Whaley, Gingerich struck out two of the next three and forced a groundout to get out of the inning.
The other Mid-Prairie run came off the use of sacrifice bunts. Vinnie Bowlin led off the inning by reaching on an error, one of four for West Branch in game one. Chris Miller and Ashton Bush both put down sacrifice bunts to move Bowlin over to third base with two outs.
An error by the second baseman allowed Tornow to beat out a ground ball and score Bowlin to take a 2-0 lead.
Gingerich faced five batters in the fourth, giving up a single and striking out three. The fifth inning went by without much trouble for either side.
Both teams had to reach into the bullpen for the sixth inning as West Branch chose to swap first baseman Ted Bridges in to pitch. Bridges fastball was a beat faster than Mid-Prairie had seen before and he struck out Mid-Prairie’s 9-1-2 hitters in the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, West Branch scored all four of their runs, using a two RBI double by Bridges to tie the game. That finished the game for Gingerich and Kayden Reinier came in to pitch.
He was poised to get out of the inning as he forced a ground ball, but it was mishandled and gave West Branch the go-ahead run and another opportunity to add another and make it 4-2.
Down to their last at-bat, Colton Hobbs flew out to left, Aidan Rath struck out looking and Gingerich flew out to left.
With the loss in mind, Mid-Prairie came out in game two focused and ready to score the runs they had left on base last game.
Brad Tornow was in his usual form on the mound, pitching a complete game shutout and striking out 12. He gave up just four hits and walked no batters. West Branch only had two base runners through the first five innings.
In similar circumstances, Mid-Prairie led 3-0 heading to the sixth, but this time they took advantage of West Branch’s relief pitching.
A pair of hits by Cale Robertson and Vinnie Bowlin combined with three walks allowed Mid-Prairie to expand the lead to seven runs. Bowlin went 1-3, but led the team with two RBIs.
Zeb Danner scored a pair of runs as a courtesy runner.
Keegan Gingerich played shortstop in game two, going 2-4 and scoring a pair of runs.
The River Valley Conference split moves Mid-Prairie to 8-6 overall on the season and 6-4 in conference games.