Mehl’s Bat, Cranfill’s Arm Fuel Blowout
The Mocksville Legion baseball team has received offensive contributions up and down the lineup all season. Kyle Mehl took his turn in the spotlight on May 24 at Mando Field.
The North Iredell star singled, doubled and knocked in the most runs (six) by a Mocksville player in 59 games as Post 174/54 had all its pistons humming in a 14-4 stomping of Burlington.
While Burlington fell to 0-2, Mocksville, getting a fine mound effort from Colby Cranfill, picked up back-to-back wins after an 0-4 start.
The Mocksville attack was relentless for the fourth straight game, following run totals of 10, 11 and 13. It is hitting .379 during the span.
Charlie Muchukot (2 for 3, two walks), Nick Collins (1-2, three walks), Mehl (2-5, six RBIs), Sawyer Davis (2-5, two RBIs), Ross Hoffner (2-4, two RBIs) and Jacob Barnhardt (2-2, two walks) led the way as Mocksville finished with 12 hits and nine walks.
A handful of Mocksville hitters are riding torrid streaks. Hoffner is first with a .476 average. Muchukot’s absurd 12-for-18 streak has lifted his average to .461. Davis stands at .450. Collins is at .409 with a team-high nine walks/hit by pitches. And Mehl is hitting .384 with a team-high 11 RBIs.
“Muchukot is tearing it up,” coach Charles Kurfees said. “Ross did his usual.”
Mocksville pushed a 3-1 advantage to 8-1 in the third. After Davis, Jones, Hoffner and Barnhardt had hits, Mehl rapped a two-run single.
It was 8-3 when Mehl stepped to the plate in the fifth. With Barnhardt, Muchukot and Collins on the bases, Mehl launched a grand slam to blow the game wide open. His first homer of the season gave him the most RBIs in a Mocksville game since Connor Bodenhamer had eight in a 14-3 win over the Mooresville Legends in 2012.
“We’re doing OK,” Kurfees said. “We’re inches from being 5-1. I’m serious, we should be 5-1. I give Stanly County credit. They beat us (in the first meeting). I was afraid I was going to wake up Tuesday (May 27) and we were going to be 0-8.”
Mocksville had allowed 12, 13, 13 and 11 runs in the previous four games. It was allowing 11 on average. So when you look at Cranfill’s line (seven innings, six hits, three earned runs), you blink, turn your head, come back and make sure you saw the numbers correctly.
It was a solid performance by any measure. When compared to what Mocksville had produced on the mound in the first five games, it was almost a masterpiece.
By the third inning, Mocksville provided more run support than was necessary for Cranfill (1-1 record) as the righthander tossed the first complete game in 21 games. It was the CG since Weibley pitched a nine-inning two-hitter against South Rowan last summer. And this came one night after Cranfill closed out a 13-11 win at Stanly.
“Colby is a pretty good pitcher,” said Kurfees, who added that Cranfill is the No. 2 guy behind ace Michael Ball.
Notes: What made the Mocksville performance all the more pleasing to the eye was the fact it played error-free defense. Kurfees’ altered pregame routine paid off. “I hit them no telling how many ground balls before the game,” he said. “Then we took batting practice and we didn’t even take infield before the game. I hit them ground balls for probably 20 minutes.” … Ball caught two balls against the left-field wall, but he had no luck at the plate, lining out twice. “He hit two bullets to the shortstop,” Kurfees said.