Two clutch hits in the top of the seventh inning allowed Hopper Environmental Services to salvage a doubleheader split in Junior American Legion Baseball action Sunday.
The Exterminators rallied from a six-run deficit in the second game of the double dip and took a 9-8 victory over Jonesboro Armor Seed at Lester White Field at Cooper Park.
The Exterminators return to action at 5 p.m. Monday when they host Paragould for a doubleheader in their final conference games of the season. Mountain Home is now 12-5 overall and 7-5 in Zone 2 play.
Hopper fell behind 8-2 but started to rally off relief pitcher Reid Eakin with three two-out runs in the sixth.
Brock Vigna — who came just a home run short of the cycle in the nightcap — singled, Chance Steed walked and Austin Pool drove home Vigna with a double down the left-field line. Jon Adams beat out an infield hit, and since there were two outs, both Steed and Pool scored on the play, bringing Hopper within 8-5.
After Exterminators reliever Joseph Langston stranded a pair of Jonesboro baserunners in the bottom of the sixth, Hopper capped its comeback in the seventh.
Brady Smith reached on a one-out error, and Luke Kruse and Luke Jackson each received one-out walks from Eakin. Trevor Harvey came in to pitch and was greeted by a bases-clearing double by Vigna, tying the score. Vigna took third on a throw home and scored on an infield hit by Steed for the lead.
Langston worked around a two-base error to record the final three outs and salvage the conference split.
Vigna was 3 for 4 with four RBIs to lead Hopper, while Steed went 2 for 4. Israel Garcia was 2 for 5 with three RBIs to lead Jonesboro.
Langston earned the win, tossing 21/3 innings of relief. The right-hander allowed just two hits and a walk.
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Armor Seed used a pair of home runs from Payton Gooch over the first three innings to gain a big, early lead in the first game.
Gooch smacked a solo home run to lead off the second inning and hammered a towering two-run homer to left in the third.
Jonesboro’s Tommy Garcia, Israel Garcia and Matthew Fraser all had singles in the first inning as Armor Seed took a 2-0 lead.
Hopper’s Luke Helm drove home a pair with a base hit in the bottom of the first, tying the score at 2-2.
Gooch’s first homer sparked a three-run second frame for Jonesboro, and Armor Seed stretched its lead to 7-2 on Gooch’s two-run homer in the third.
Adams singled and scored on an error for Hopper’s only run in the bottom of the third, and Armor Seed got that one back in the fourth. Fraser reached on a two-base error and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-3.
Eakin walked, stole second and scored on a base hit by Dominick Lee to push Jonesboro’s lead to 9-3 in the sixth.
Mountain Home posed one more threat in the seventh, scoring two before Armor Seed finished the victory.
Jon Martin walked, Adams singled to left field, and Jackson scored Martin on a sacrifice fly. Adams later scored on a wild pitch for the host team’s fifth run.
Kruse took the loss for Hopper, allowing seven runs — four earned — six hits and two walks over 21/3 innings. Tristen Trivitt allowed three hits and two runs over 22/3 innings of relief, and Vigna pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the Exterminators.
Gavin Stone scattered six hits and struck out seven over five innings in picking up the win for Armor Seed. Fraser struck out three and allowed two runs and two hits over two innings of relief.
Fraser and Gooch each went 2 for 4 and each had three RBIs, wile Tommy Garcia went 2 for 5 for Jonesboro.
Adams was 3 for 4 to lead Hopper, while Helm was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and Smith also was 2 for 4.
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