By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
BOONEVILLE – Hunter Hastings helped speed up an already speedy game Saturday afternoon in Booneville.
With his Blue Devils tied at 1-all in the sixth inning against visiting Mantachie at Harold T. White Field, Hastings connected with a single down the third base line to plate Adam Nichols for the decisive run in a 2-1 win.
The game lasted 90 minutes.
Nichols lined a triple to right field with one out in the inning to set up the game-winning hit.
The Blue Devils (8-8-1) had already played seven one-run games and lost five of them, one at Mantachie in February.
“Mantachie has a good baseball team and I’m excited to see my guys hang in,” said Booneville coach Bo Sandlin. “We made a few changes over spring break and we’ve started having some of those one-run games go to our favor.”
Both teams had already scored sneaky runs.
Mantachie (4-8-1) scored first in the first inning. With two outs, Peyton Chism singled before Cole Stephens reached on an error. With Chism at third, Stephens took off from first. Chism scored before Stephens was caught in a rundown and the Mustangs took a 1-0 lead.
Booneville evened things in the fifth on the same play. Lee McCoy reached on one of five Mantachie errors before a perfect bunt from Dylan Henley put runners at the corners. After Hunter Dill induced a flyout, Henley took off from first and courtesy runner Tyler White scored to tie the game.
At the time, both teams had one run, five hits and one error.
Mantachie coach Scott Collier said he almost went to the mound once he thought Booneville may be about to try the same tactic.
“I started to go tell my pitcher and I didn’t,” Collier said. “We’re young and just trying to find ways to win. They’re battling hard.”
Chism had two of Mantachie’s five hits. Henley had two of Booneville’s five.
Booneville starter McCoy sat down three straight to cap a complete game, five-strikeout performance.
“He has thrown exceptionally well all year,” Sandlin said. “Early on we weren’t able to score any runs for him. And we’ve started playing a whole lot better on defense.”