Mavs win 17-7, improve to 25-3
Marvin Ridge High's baseball team cruised into the third round of the 3A state playoffs with a 17-7 victory over Cox Mill in six innings Tuesday night.
The Mavericks (25-3) advanced with the help of a strong five-inning outing from winning pitcher Zach Kuchmaner just three days removed from a rough start Friday in which he didn't get out of the second inning.
"Zach struggled throwing last Friday, he came back tonight and was fantastic on the mound," Mavericks coach Mark Mennitt said. "That team was tough. They were not going to give in. They do a good job, they battled. Every time they hit, we responded with more. We're swinging the bat well right now. Hopefully that continues. We get another chance on Friday and that's what you want right now."
Kuchmaner gave up three hits, four walks and four runs over five innings to pick up the win.
"The day before I fixed a few things in the bullpen," Kuchmaner said. "Coach (Aaron) Hammers was working with me getting over my front foot, staying straight to the plate. Everyone had a lot of confidence in me and kept telling me I was fine. That really changed my mindset and helped me stay focused."
Marvin Ridge scored six runs over the first three innings, five in the third, and added six more in the fifth.
"You can throw balls right over the plate," Kuchmaner said, in reference to the the big lead. "Let them hit it and let us make plays. That's about it."
Jacob Henderson gave the Mavs a 1-0 lead when he took home on a throw down to second on a delayed double steal with Jason Curtis.
Henderson and Curtis had back-to-back hits to lead off the third inning, followed one-out later by a two-RBI double by Max Wotell.
Wotell stole third before Joe Tietjen walked and would score on a suicide squeeze by Kuchmaner.
Vic Kuchamner singled to right to score Tietjen and scored on Kyle Corgan's single for a 6-0 lead.
The Mavs added a run in the fourth when Derek Smith reached and took second on an error. Smith took third on yet another error and scored when nobody covered home plate.
The Chargers (16-12) scored three times in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to 7-4.
The Mavs scored all the runs they needed with six in the fifth.
Tietjen reached on an error followed by three straight RBI singles from the Kuchmaners and Corgan before there was one out.
Henderson and Curtis added back-to-back RBI singles before Smith ended the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center for a 13-4 lead.
The Chargers scored three more runs in the top of the sixth but the Mavs answered with four runs, including Smith's single up the middle to end the game early.
The Mavs, who are 15-0 at home this season, learned soon after they would host Asheboro — a 4-2 winner over Carson — on Friday.
"It's big; we're going to play at home and we're going to get a big crowd," Zach Kuchmaner said. "We like playing here. We haven't lost here yet. There is a lot of confidence on the team. We're swinging the bat real well. Last year we lost in the first round. We don't like doing that so we're going to keep on winning."
Mennitt knows the competition will only get tougher, but likes the idea of playing in Marvin.
"We've played well at home and hopefully that continues," Mennitt said. "It doesn't get any easier as you move on but we've got an opportunity. At this time of the year, opportunity is all you can ask for. I think we're playing well. I think we have to continue to throw strikes and play defense. If we swing the bats like this we can play with anybody."
The Mavs will throw the first pitch at 7:00 against Asheboro, the top seed out of the Mid-Piedmont Conference.