Seminoles line up, Mullet sits ‘em down as Hawks spank Monroe Central 16-0

Seminoles line up, Mullet sits ‘em down as Hawks spank Monroe Central 16-0

May 11, 2016

By: Hiland Baseball

by Dave Mast

Seminoles line up, Mullet sits ‘em down as Hawks spank Monroe Central 16-0

Ten little Seminoles standin’ in a line,
One went down swinging and then there were nine;
Nine little Seminoles stridin’ to the plate,
One swing and a miss and then there were eight.
Eight little Seminoles looking up to heaven.
One got smoked and then there were seven;
Seven little Seminoles carrying their sticks,
One went down lookin’ and then there were six.
Six little Seminoles all tryin’ to stay alive,
One kicked the bucket and then there were five;
Five little Seminoles watching it pour,
One bit the dust and then there were four.
Four little Seminoles trying to break free,
One got befuddled and then there were three;
Three little Seminoles didn’t know what to do,
One, two, three strikes and then there were two.
Two little Seminoles didn’t get it done,
Swing and a miss and then there was one;
One little Seminol, nowhere to run,
He followed the rest and then there were none.

That little ditty is a play on “Ten Little Indians,” a minstrel show tune written by Septimus Winner in 1868.

Little did Winner know that his tune would define the effort of the Monroe Central Seminoles as they faced Hiland senior Eric Mullet in the opening round of the Div. III Sectional at Hiland High School Tuesday, May 10.

On a cold, dreary evening, the Seminoles rolled into Lehman Field, hopped off the bus and lined up to take their cuts against Mullet, who hasn’t given up an earned run since Winner penned his song more than a century ago.

Actually, it was 88 innings ago, and after the 16-0 shutout of Monroe Central, Mullet’s OHSAA record of not allowing an earned run had been extended to 95 innings or so.

What made this feat even more amazing was how he got to that number.

Mullet struck out the first 10 Seminoles he faced in the game, giving up the first ball in play in the fourth inning with one out. His perfect game would disappear in the fourth when he walked his first hitter, and then a single followed in the fifth, ruining the no-hitter. But in typical Mullet fashion, and in a moment very apropos for this game, he fired three fastballs by the final hitter to end the game with 13 whiffs in the 15 outs he recorded.

“Nothing Eric does surprises me any more,” said Hiland coach Tom Gibson of his ace’s performance.

While Mullet was magnificent, the Hiland bats were just as lethal. Few things didn’t go Hiland’s way in the meeting of a one-seed versus a 19-seed, outside of the very first batter of the game. Chris Kline reached on an error and went to second on the errant throw, and as Gibson looked in to give signs to the next batter, Tyson Gingerich, Central’s pitcher twirled and picked Kline off second.

“I was looking in to give signs and never even saw it happen,” said Gibson.

That was the last highlight for the Seminoles, outside of the ground out that ended the strikeout string at 10, the walk and the single.

Hiland’s fun was about to begin.

Gingerich doubled, as did Bryan Yoder, to make it 1-0. Then came the second inning, when the number 10 became significant yet again, as the Hawks posted a 10-run inning in which they sent 14 hitters to the plate. In the ruckus, Zach Coblentz banged out two hits, Gingerich spanked his second double of the game and the Hawks pounded out seven hits.

Mullet came in and threw 16 pitches, none of them finding their way into play.

Hiland would come in and plate three more, including a towering fly ball off the bat of Mullet that clanked high off the scoreboard of the Lehman Monster in left field.

Late in the fourth inning, a mother of one of the Seminoles was describing the action on her cell phone, presumably to her husband.

He comments spoke volumes, as she explained to her husband that this Hiland team was incredibly well-coached, fundamental and “you can tell they practice hard because they play the game the right way.”

For the game, Gingerich recorded three hits, including two doubles, scoring three times. Mullet, Yoder, Braden Mast and Coblentz all notched a pair of hits.

It was total domination from start to finish for Hiland, and as the rain continued to fall throughout the contest, Gibson substituted with abandonment, hoping to simply get through the game before the heavens opened up.

“We made it through, and nobody got hurt, so that was the best thing that came out of this,” said Gibson. “Really, we were supposed to come in and take this game, and we did what we were expected to do. That hasn’t been the case for too many games this season. We have let teams hang around too long. It was nice to see us start early and keep playing good baseball.”

The win improved Hiland to 21-2 on the season, and marches them one game closer to their goal of a state berth. The Hawks won’t look ahead past anyone, but if they get this kind of effort, they can be a formidable team, regardless of what division they are playing.

Just ask any of the Seminoles, who slashed, whiffed, fanned, missed and walked back to the dugout dragging their bats in disbelief, as one buy one they were set down in a row.