The Hoptown Hoppers (27-17) won the first game of the OVL semi-final round against the Henderson Flash (20-23) 14-8 Monday night in Hopkinsville.
Hoptown struck first in the bottom of the first inning after Aharon Modlin and Zach Duvall both singled to get things started, both advancing on a wild pitch. Taylor Fought drew a walk to load the bases before Reese Alexiades followed suit with a walk of his own scoring Modlin. Griffin Rivers grounded into a 6-3 double play scoring Duvall for the final run of the inning.
Robby McGaha got things started for the Flash with a one-out base hit in the top of the third, followed by a successful steal of second. Zach Smith drove in McGaha with a double to right center for their only run of the inning.
The Hoppers caught fire in the bottom of third as they plated five runs. Duvall walked to lead things off, followed by Fought being hit by a pitch and Alexiades walking to load the bases. Rivers then drove in Duvall and Fought on a double down the left field line. Nolen Milton capped off the inning with a 3-run blast over the wall in left field, his 10th HR of the summer, scoring Alexiades and Rivers.
Henderson put runs on the board again in the top of the fourth as they score two runs of their own. Aaron Euler led off the inning with a walk. Three batters later, General McArthur tripled to the wall in right scoring Euler before a throwing error by the first baseman allowed McArthur to score.
Hoptown started a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth scoring three runs with two outs. Aidan Elias got things going with an infield single to the shortstop. Modlin and Duvall both followed with singles before Fought doubled over the glove of the left fielder scoring all three runners.
The Hoppers drove in four more runs in the bottom of sixth inning. Rivers walked to lead off the bottom of the inning before Milton blasted a ground rule double to the wall putting runners on second and third before a wild pitch advanced them both, scoring Rivers. Cody Cooper followed with a base hit that drove in Milton. Daryl Myers singled through the right side followed by a Modlin walk to load the bases. Cooper scored on a wild pitch that also advanced Myers and Modlin. Fought drove in the final run of the inning with a sac fly to left field scoring Myers.
The Flash saw three more runs come across in the top of the seventh. Grant Brueggenjohann and Smith both singled with one out before Rodrigo Dulce launched on over the left field wall for a 3-run home run.
McArthur reached base on a fielder’s choice in the top of the 8th, followed by a Jordan Schaffer walk and a McGaha single to load the bases. Brueggenjohann singled in McArthur and Paul Haupt singled in Schaffer for the final two runs of the game.
Both starters factored in the decision. Dustin Berrong (9-1) picked up the win for Hoppers pitching six innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits, with four walks and nine strikeouts. Brandon Diaz (1-4) was credited with the loss after tossing two innings, giving up seven earned, on four hits and five walks.
The Hoppers and the Flash face off against each other for game 2 in Henderson Tuesday night at 7pm.
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