PDT Sports Writer
MINFORD - Call them the Dynamic Duo, or the Brothers in Arms.
Whatever Shaun Cook and Jared Farmer are called, one word has followed them lately - winners. Two of eight sophomores on Minford's baseball squad this season, Cook and Farmer have been solid contributors on the mound for the Falcons, helping the team to a second-place finish in the SOC II.
The tandem was at it again Tuesday night as Minford took on North Adams in a sectional semifinal. The Green Devils couldn't get their offense going against either, as the Falcons cruised to an 8-0 victory. The win sets up a sectional championship contest with conference rival West on Friday.
“Our pitching did really well today,” said Cook, who allowed just two hits in five innings of work. “I was happy with the way I pitched, and my curveball was really working. I felt like I was able to keep them off balance, and that helped us get the win.”
North Adams managed just five base runners all game, and Cook usually made them pay for making it to the base paths. A southpaw with a lot of finesse, Cook picked off two Green Devil runners at first, both leaning toward second, and allowed only one runner to get into scoring position.
Cook helped his cause in the first inning at the plate, driving in Keenan Havens and Luke Lester on a single. The Falcons would lead 3-0 after the first, adding a run each in the third and fifth innings, and three in the fourth to pick up the win.
Two of those runs in the fourth came off the bat of Farmer, scoring Havens and Lester on another single. Farmer finished the game 2 for 3 with three runs batted in.
“We wanted to jump out early on teams and score some runs so there is no pressure on us,” said Farmer. “We wanted to come out with a bang, and we did that tonight. From there, we tried to keep them off balance on the mound and not allow them to get back into the game. It turned out pretty well for us.”
Farmer took the mound in the top of the sixth, and North Adams' batters wished he would have stayed at shortstop. Instead of finesse, the right-handed fireballer brought a lot of speed, striking out four of the six batters he faced.
Offensively, Lester had two hits for Minford, including a double, scoring three times. Andy Bailey also had two hits, one a double, and drove in another run.
“We started off a little bit sluggish and we didn't hit the ball like I thought we should have, but after being off three days, it's tough this time of year,” said Falcons coach Tim Martin. “I am proud of what they did tonight, but we need to come out Friday with more enthusiasm and get things done.”
For the Green Devils, Nick Plate and Zack Bolender had the only two hits, Bolender's being a double. North Adams was able to make contact with the ball all night, but usually found those hits in the leather of Minford gloves.
“It has been that way all year,” said coach Dave Young. “We don't hit the ball hard enough for people to make plays on. We only hit the ball hard a couple of times tonight. It just seems like we don't make anybody work for anything. I have to give Minford a lot of credit. They made plays and we didn't.”
JOSH HICKLE can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241.
North Adams 000 000 0 - 0 2 0
Minford 301 310 x - 8 11 3
WP: Shaun Cook. LP: Ryan Unger.
North Adams - Zack Bolender 1-3 2B; Nick Platt 1-3.
Minford - Jared Farmer 2-3 3 RBI; Luke Lester 2-3 2B, 3R, RBI; Sean Cook 2-3 2 RBI; Andy Bailey 2-2 2B, RBI.
Records - Minford 13-8; North Adams 8-8.