FREDERICKTOWN — Mount Gilead baseball coach Mark Kennon knows his squad has shown significant improvement this season.
The Indians fell 10-4 to KMAC rival and powerhouse Fredericktown Tuesday night in the Division III district semifinal contest.
But the Indians (11-15) have made strides since going 4-16 two years ago.
“I’m very pleased. We put the ball in play, which I asked. But they made plays. That’s why they’re good; in my opinion, the best team in the district,” Kennon said.
Mount Gilead got a lead-off single from Carson VanHoose in the first inning, but left him stranded.
The Freddies wasted little time as they plated three runs in their half of the inning. Trevor Jobes laced a double to left field, one of nine hits for the hosts, to get things started.
Lincoln Cunningham got the win, going 5 innings and scattering 4 hits. He had six strikeouts and no walks.
Sophomore Carter Kennon pitched 3 innings for the Indians and gave up 5 hits, striking out 2 and walking 3. VanHoose took the mound for the final 3 frames and had 3 strikeouts and one walk.
Fredericktown added 3 runs in the third and another in the fifth for a 7-0 lead.
But the Indians didn’t quit.
“We kicked it around a couple times. But our kids didn’t lay down. They battled,” Kennon said.
Each team committed 3 errors.
Caleb Sheriff hit a 3-run homer in the top of the sixth, before MG added 3 in their half of the inning.
“Sheriff dropped that bomb right there, or it’s 7-4. We got run-ruled by them twice (regular season) and I was proud of them for the way they battled.”
VanHoose had a pair of hits, along with one each by Nick Garvey, Kennon, Zack Davidson and Tyler McKinney.
Kennon only loses two seniors in Owen Blanton and Davidson so the future appears bright.
“We return all our pitching next year. We won our first sectional championship in 6 years. We wanted to be .500 and we went 11-15 so we’ll take that.
“Our program’s going up and we got good freshmen coming in. I’m very excited for the program.”
Fredericktown (23-5) plays Amanda Clearcreek Thursday in the district finals. The Aces beat Worthington Christian 1-0 in the other semifinal.