Major Baseball: Milford drops 4-2 tourney opener to M.O.T.

MILFORD – The Milford All-Stars opened the 2018 District I Major Baseball tournament with a 4-2 loss to M.O.T. Thursday night at Milford Little League.

Less than 24 hours after M.O.T. (2-0) put up 14 runs on Felton-Harrington, Milford’s pitching staff limited M.O.T.’s bats to just four hits.

“I thought we had a great performance,” said Milford manager Bill Kent. “I think on both sides of the field there wasn’t much hitting going on tonight, we just hit our spots and they hit their spots pitching. It was just a duel all night long – everybody was having a hard time making their contact and when they did, the fielders were making some great plays.”

Christian Willey made the start on the mound for Milford’s Major Baseball squad Thursday night (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

With the loss, Milford (0-1) will face Smyrna-Clayton (0-1) in an elimination game Friday, July 13 at Milford Little League.

Milford shortstop Matthew Winkleblech led the game off with a triple and would score on a Josh Miller groundout to put Milford ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning.

“His performance was amazing tonight,” said coach Kent. “Matthew Winkleblech – obviously he’s hitting in my lead-off spot – is a wonderful hitter, he’s a patient hitter. He’s a tremendous athlete who has a lot of drive and desire for the game.”

A two-run double from right fielder Marcello Lanoni gave MOT the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

Carter Boyd scored on a passed ball and Logan Taylor scored on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the third inning to extend M.O.T.’s lead to 4-1.

Darnell Hughes on a passed ball in the top of the fifth to cut the lead in half, but M.O.T. would shut Milford’s offense out in the sixth to close out the win.

Luke Bunting slides safely into second base during the first inning of Thursday night’s showdown (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Christian Willey started on the mound for Milford, pitching the first 2.1 innings before being relieved by Winkleblech (1.0 IP) and Ryan Zimmerman (1.2 IP). Willey struck out two batters and allowed three runs on two hits. Winkleblech and Zimmerman combined to allow one run on two hits over the final 2.2 innings of play.

Jackson Dorsey made the start on the mound for M.O.T., allowing one run on four hits in 3.2 innings pitched. Relievers Chase Timmons and Carter Boyd combined to pitch the final 2.1 innings, surrendering one run on two hits.

Willey, Winkleblech, Hughes, Luke Bunting and Tyler Brown each collected hits for Milford in the two-run loss.

The first pitch for tournament host Milford in Friday night’s showdown with Smyrna-Clayton is set for 6 p.m.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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