Madisonville went into the weekend riding high following a walk-off win on Friday, but a doubleheader weep by Henderson at home Saturday and a rainout in Hopkinsville Sunday took some of the air out of the team’s sails.
The Miners did bounce back on Monday at Elmer Kelley Stadium with a key 6-2 victory over the Muhlenberg County Stallions behind a dominant start on the mound by Nick Lallathin
Madisonville (11-25) had a slow start to the weekend as Henderson easily took game one by a score of 10-0 and completed the sweep with a 5-1 victory in the nightcap.
The Miners’ lone run of the day came in the bottom of the third in the second game on an RBI single by Justin Ramirez.
“We simply did not come out ready to play 14 innings (Saturday),” head coach Josh Merrill said. “It could’ve been the 10 a.m. tarp pull, it could be any excuse, but we weren’t ready to play.”
The main positive that came out of the twin bill was outfielder Reed Latimer continuing to swing a hot bat and extending his hitting streak to 21 games.
“I definitely don’t see Reed’s streak ending anytime soon,” Merrill said. “He’s a guy I wouldn’t want to face four times in a night. He may get out once or twice, but he’ll beat you that one time. His philosophy is to swing hard and see what happens, and it’s been working for him.”
The Miners were supposed to make a trip about 30 minutes south to take on the Hoptown Hoppers on Sunday, but that game was rained out and will be made up next Monday.
In Monday’s home win over Muhlenberg (16-20), Latimer wasted little time extending his hitting streak to 22 games with a first inning RBI single. He then stole second and advanced the third with the throw going into the outfield allowing another Miners run to score. Latimer eventually crossed the plate on a groundout by J.T. Rice to give the Miners a 3-0 advantage.
Muhlenberg got two runs back in the top of the second, but that’s all they got for the ballgame with Lallathin picking up eight strikeouts and his defense bailing him out of jams behind him over the 7.1 innings he pitched.
“My changeup was my best pitch,” Lallathin said. “After the second inning, they were pretty much sitting fastball so I was able to get them out with my changeup.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Williams was just a few feet short of a two-run home run, but he gladly took an RBI double. He came around to score later in the inning on a two-RBI single by Evan Liddie to give Madisonville a four-run cushion.
After Lallathin came out, Merrill handed the ball over to Todd Bangston- who only allowed one hit in the final 1.2 innings to shut the door.
“I’ve been telling the guys that the team who pitches well and has timely hitting at this point of the year will go deep in the playoffs,” Merrill said. “(Monday night) was the recipe for us so we need to keep it up in the final stretch of the season.”
Entering Monday, the Miners are 13 games behind first place Dubois County with only eight games to play, but they still have a chance at hosting the play-in game between the fourth and fifth place teams. If the regular season were to end today, the Miners would have to travel to Muhlenberg County to play that game.
On the injury front, Brennon Williams did not play the second game after fouling a pitch off his ankle in game one. He did return to the lineup on Monday, but catcher Will Cline had to leave the game against Muhlenberg with a thumb injury.
The Miners are in the middle of a four-game home stand as they’ll host a 6:30 p.m. contest tonight against the Franklin Duelers.