Mooney fans 13 batters; Seminary blanks Hornets

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 28, 2003

Joey Mooney pitched the game of his life Friday night. TheSeminary senior tossed a 3-hitter, struck out 11 batters andsparked the Bulldogs to a 12-0 thumping of the Loyd Star Hornets inthe first game of the Class 2A South State semifinals.

Mooney, a 6-foot-1,175-pound right-hander with a blazingfastball, helped his cause with a sixth-inning, 2-run homer andaccounted for 3 hits at the plate. The Jones County Junior Collegesignee issued only 1 base on balls in the 6-inning game.

“We had a long, quiet bus ride up here and we had a chance toreally focus on the game,” said Mooney. “My arm was feeling good inwarmups. I’m just glad I hit the ball.”

Mooney’s pitches, clocked by a radar gun, were in the mid tohigh 80s during the game. His fastball peaked out at 90 miles perhour.

“Joey Mooney had one of the games of his life,” said Seminarycoach Eddie Lofton. “I couldn’t have asked for more from him.”

Lofton, in his fourth year at the helm, saw his Bulldogs improvetheir record to 28-4. Last year they were eliminated by Lumbertonin the South State finals, losing the third game of the series.

According to Lofton, Loyd Star’s hard-hitting lineup was hismain concern. “I talked to about 15 schools (coaches) and they alltalked about how Loyd Star really hits the ball.”

With Mooney delivering fastballs across home plate, the Hornetsmanaged only 1 fly ball to the outfield. Jody Britt and Blake Wallcollected singles off Mooney but both were infield dribblers. Asharp single to center field by David Cuevas accounted for theother Hornet hit.

The Hornets (22-8) struggled offensively and defensively,committing 5 errors.

“(Mooney) is awfully good,” said Loyd Star head coach SidneyWheatley. “He hit his spots and kept us off balance. He got us tochase pitches.

“I was very disappointed in the way we played,” Wheatleycontinued. “Our defense was absolutely terrible. We didn’t stayfocused and the wheels came off.”

The Dawgs roughed up 3 Loyd Star pitchers and finished with 10hits, including home runs by Mooney, third baseman Derek Norris andleftfielder Scott Broome. Hornet starter Jared Britt went 3.2innings, giving up 8 runs on 6 hits, striking out 5 and walkingnone.

In the third inning, Broome launched a 2-run homer over theleft-center field wall, giving the Dawgs a 4-0 lead. With 2 out inthe fourth, slugged a 2-run homer for an 8-0 lead.

Mooney’s 2-run homer to left off Wall made it 10-0 in thesixth.