By Adama Gore/Special to the Journal
MANTACHIE – Senior right-handed pitcher Colin Minga had one thing on his mind when he came to the ballpark on Saturday:
The ICC signee had 10 strikeouts in a complete game two-hitter to go along with three singles and a RBI in the series-clinching 6-1 Game 2 win over Hamilton in the MHSAA Class 2A North State Championship series.
“It’s an unreal feeling,” said Minga. “My teammates made the plays defensively and hit the ball offensively to help me getting settled in and do work. This win came from a great effort from everyone on the team.”
Mantachie scored three runs in the bottom of the first after back-to-back two-out errors before Austin Welch broke up Minga’s no-hitter in the fourth with an RBI double to make it a 3-1 contest.
Welch had both hits, a single and double, for the Lions.
“We knew we were going to face someone special tonight,” said Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest. “We made two errors early in the game that let them take a 3-0 lead. You can’t do things like that and expect to win when you are facing a pitcher like they had on the mound tonight.”
The Mustangs tacked on some insurance runs with a two-run double by Cole Stephens in the fifth and another on a RBI single from Minga in the sixth.
“You can’t say enough about Colin and the rest of the guys tonight,” an emotional Mantachie coach Scott Collier said after the game. “We were able to get ahead early and make some plays behind him to help take some of the pressure off of him. He responded with a lights out performance and the guys seemed to feed off his energy all night.”
Minga’s three singles led the Mustangs nine-hit performance to help lead Mantachie to its first-ever North championship.
“This win is not only big for our program, but it’s just as big for our community,” said Collier, who played high school baseball at Mantachie. “We’ve been so close so many times under coach Mike McCarven and to be play for a state championship means so much to so many people in the community.”
Mantachie will take on the winner between the Taylorsville and Wesson at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson at 1 p.m. Wednesday.