Jackets’ Joyner pitches gem against Raiders

Posted 5/6/21

Yellowjacket hurler Spencer Joyner threw another masterpiece Tuesday in Winnsboro.  He handcuffed the home side Raiders, giving up only three hits in the 5-1 Mineola victory. 

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Jackets’ Joyner pitches gem against Raiders

Posted

Yellowjacket hurler Spencer Joyner threw another masterpiece Tuesday in Winnsboro.  He handcuffed the home side Raiders, giving up only three hits in the 5-1 Mineola victory. 

Coupled with Mt. Vernon’s loss to Harmony, Mineola and Mount Vernon ended the season with 9-3 district records, tied for the second-place playoff spot.

Joyner was in sync from the very first pitch. He found the outside corner again and again, and when Winnsboro hitters started to crowd the plate to reach the corner, he threw strikes inside at the knees. 

Most notable about Joyner’s talent is his consistent motion. Hitters receive no indications about which pitch is coming because his motion is unchanged regardless of the pitch. That characteristic combined with great control and the solid catching of Coy Anderson produced a textbook performance. 

Joyner struck out seven and walked one while throwing only 97 pitches. He set the Raiders down in order five times.

Mineola wasted no time in opening the scoring. They put up two runs in the first after Anderson reached on a walk and Riley Fowler reached on an interference call. Anderson scored when Cason Davis drilled a single to center, and Fowler scored on a passed ball. 

The first inning also saw the first of two long game delays, as the home plate umpire went down with a calf muscle injury. To his credit, he returned to action and called the complete game behind the plate. 

The second significant game delay came in the second. Yellowjacket Conner Gibson was hit by a pitch but was called out for stepping out of the batter’s box. He appeared to have extended his elbow to ensure contact with the ball.

An appeal by Mineola manager Russell Bowker led to a long and earnest discussion between the home plate umpire and the field umpire. The call was then reversed, and Gibson headed to first base. That brought the Winnsboro manager quickly to the diamond – where a second long discussion regarding the nuances of the game occurred.

After that exchange of perspectives, the call was reversed again, and Gibson was called out for a second time. As is to be expected, Coach Bowker wasted no time in requesting further consultations with the umpire team. The call, fortunately, had no direct impact on the game.    

Winnsboro put their lead-off man on base in the third with the only Joyner walk of the night. He stole second and scored when the Winnsboro batter smashed a long ball which fell at the foot of the fence in left field. Solid defense limited the Raiders to only one run in the inning. 

The single run scored by Mineola in the fourth was Yellowjacket baseball. Lead-off hitter Caleb Gant rifled a long single to the left-centerfield gap. He glanced up once rounding first and completely surprised the Raiders by taking second on nothing but hustle. 

His effort paid off when Brayden Alley drilled a liner through the left side and Gant scored from second base. 

The second out of the inning produced the defensive highlight of the game. It came from Winnsboro right-fielder Dominique Allen. The senior speedster sprinted at full tilt to take a high foul ball near the right field fence in the expansive foul territory at Raider Stadium. His sliding basket catch was a jewel in any league.

Mineola generated two more runs in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded, Gant sent a hard line drive down the third-base line, scoring Anderson and Fowler. 

Joyner had a one-hitter going into the bottom of the seventh. He dispatched the first Raider batter looking, and the second out came on a foul territory catch by Kaden Bell. Joyner quickly went up 0-and-2 on the third Raider of the inning. The hitter sent a towering fly ball into short center field – in that zone just behind the second base. Four Yellowjackets converged on the ball, but it fell between them all for a base hit. 

Joyner then gave up the third hit of the night before getting the final out on a pop-up to the right side.

In a playoff seeding game with Mt. Vernon Friday, the Yellowjackets were run-ruled 10-0 in five innings and enter the playoffs against New Boston.