The Hoptown Hoppers (25-16) hosted the Muhlenberg County Stallions (16-25) for game one of the first round of the playoffs and defeated the Stallions soundly 12-3. Luke Brown (5-2) got the win for the Hoppers, pitching 7 innings, giving up one run on 9 hits with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. Brooks Warren (2-2) got the loss for the Stallions.
Hoptown got on the board early with two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. With one out, Zach Duvall hit a single on a high chopper up the middle. Warren hit the next two batters to load the bases. With 2 outs, Nolen Milton hit a shot up the middle to score Duvall and Taylor Fought.
The Hoppers added another run in the 2nd inning. Aharon Modlin hit a ball down the left field line to reach first base. Modlin advanced to 2nd on a balk and then to third on a throwing error by the pitcher on the same play. Fought then drove Modlin in on a 2 out single.
The bottom of the 5th inning would see another run scored by the Hoppers extending their lead to 4-0. Fought led off the inning with a triple to right field and scored on another balk by Warren.
Hoptown extended their lead to 6-0 with 2 more runs in the 6th inning. A lead off base hit by Daryl Myers and a walk by Dalton Dedas would put runners on 1st and 2nd. Aiden Elias then put down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the first base line to advance the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Modlin then drove both runners in with a blast to the left field corner.
The Stallions finally got on the board with a run in the top of the 7th inning. Austin Toth started the inning with a lead off double and advanced to 3rd on a one out single by Jacob Morris. Toth later scored on a wild pitch.
The Hoppers responded quickly in the bottom half of the 7th inning. Billy Burgett, pitching in relief for the Stallions put Reese Alexiades and Griffin Rivers on base with consecutive walks. With a 1-0 count, Nolen Milton hit an absolute bomb over the left field fence making the score 9-1. With 2 outs, Burgett hit both Elias and Modlin. Both runners then advanced on a wild pitch. Duvall then drove both runners in on a single past the shortstop extending the lead to 11-1.
Muhlenberg cut into the Hoppers lead in the top of the 8th scoring 2 runs. Alfred Cruz started the inning with a lead off walk and was driven in on a deep double to right center by catcher Chris Gambert. Gambert would then score on an RBI single by Michael Brown.
Hoptown’s Alexiades scored the only run of the bottom of the 8th inning with a lead off blast over the right center fence.
Dalton Utley pitched the final two innings for the Hoppers to close out the game in a non-save situation.
The Hoppers head to Muhlenberg to face the Stallions on Saturday night for game two of the best of three series.
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