Football

High school baseball: Salem Hills beats Maple Mountain, wins series 2-1

Box score

Salem Hills coach Scott Haney fully admits he went to the mound in the third inning to pull starting pitcher Nolan Miller. His Game 3 starter against Maple Mountain had run into a big jam giving up five runs on six hits and there was still just one out.

The Skyhawks’ 3-0 lead was now a 5-3 deficit, and Haney wanted to avoid an even bigger inning.

“He said, ‘Coach man, I’ve got it, I’ll get it done,’ and when your dude tells you that you’ve got to let him go,” said Haney.

That’s exactly what Miller did. He pitched himself out of the jam with a pair of groundouts and a runner on third base, and then his teammates built on that momentum the rest of the game to rally for the 6-5 win over Maple Mountain on Friday to take the series 2-1.

Miller followed up the five-run third with two innings of shutout baseball, and then he turned the ball over to Kason Averett, who shut down Maple Mountain in the sixth and seventh to earn the victory.

“Here’s the thing, Nolan is going to walk people here and there, but he wanted the baseball,” said Haney.

Salem Hills tied the game at 5-5 in the fourth, and then took the lead in the top of the seventh on an RBI single between short and third from Kam Coburn, as the lead-off hitter finished the game 2 for 5.

Coburn was due up fifth in the seventh inning, but Trey Smith and Cayden Hansen both reached bases with a walk to give Coburn an at bat with a runner in scoring position.

“Probably the most important at bat was the kid who walked in the last inning to get Kam up,” said Haney.

That walk by No. 9 hitter Hansen was his second of the game as he finished with two walks, a sac bunt and an RBI.

By doing his job, Haney said that put mental pressure on Maple Mountain’s pitcher in facing the lead-off hitter.

Realistically, Salem Hills’ batters put pressure on Maple Mountain’s pitching staff most of the game. It loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, and even though a double play ended the threat, it went right back to work in the second inning as Averett led off with a double. Salem Hills ended up scoring twice in the inning on an RBI single from Hansen and then a throwing error.

Salem Hills added another run in the top of the third on an RBI single from Averett for the 3-0 lead.

Averett finished the game 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Maple Mountain had a big answer in its half of the third inning to seize a 5-3 lead.

Chase Johnson, Bennett Averett, Colby Warren, AJ Thomas and Seth Hall opened the inning with five consecutive singles before Salem Hills recorded its first out on an RBI groundout by Frandi Mosquea that tied the game 3-3.

Corbin Bailey followed with a double in the game for the 5-3 lead, which sent Salem Hills’ coach to the mound with two players warming up in the bullpen.

From that moment on, Maple Mountain recorded just two hits over the next four innings, including Averett returning its No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in order in the bottom of the seventh.

“Averett is so good because he has three pitches he can throw for a strike at any time, we knew that would give us a shot with the big three at the end,” said Haney, who really loved his players’ fight and process during what he said was a very fun series this week with Maple Mountain.

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