McKinney's heat sends a chill through CCM bats

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com

   A cold chill hovering over the confines of T.J. Burleson Little League Field on Thursday night couldn't stop the heat coming from the arm of Twins pitcher Ben McKinney.
   Thanks to the perfection of McKinney, the Twins managed to whitewash Carter County Motors by the score of 11-0 in a four-inning affair due to the slaughter rule.
   The win keeps the Twins in the drivers seat of the league race at 13-4, only one game ahead of Valley Forge Auction at 12-5.
   McKinney fanned 10 of the 12 CCM batters he faced on the way to his perfect game. With the win, McKinney's record remained unblemished at 7-0 on the season, including five one-hit games and one two-hit game.
   "It seems like we're either hot or cold," stated winning manager Bill McKinney of the Twins. "We got on a roll before 6-Sigma got us earlier in the week to slow us down a bit."
   The Twins wasted little time jumping on CCM as they plated six runs in the first inning. Lance Reed led off the top of the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball.
   McKinney aided his cause by lacing a RBI single to score Reed. Consecutive walks to Zack Montgomery and Craig Sheets resulted in a bases-loaded situation for the Twins.
   A fielder's choice by Skylar Dugger erased Reed before a walk to Dalton Luster plated Montgomery. Philip White ripped a single allowing two more Twin runs to cross the dish.
   Caleb Durant finished off the offensive onslaught with the third single of the inning that resulted in the fifth and sixth runs of the extended frame.
   It was showtime for McKinney as the hard-throwing, right-hander unleashed a flurry of mitt-popping fastballs that set down the first three CCM batters of the game on K's.
   The second inning was a little calmer for Motors defensively, as Nolan Childers kept the Twins relatively quiet, allowing only one run to score.
   Reed singled and took second on a wild pitch. A McKinney groundout to second allowed Reed to score after Carter County Motors first baseman Casey Sheffield tried to nab Reed advancing to third.
   The throw was a little wide, paving the way for Reed to score the Twins' seventh run of the game.
   In the bottom of the second, Childers put the bat on a McKinney offering for a nubber in front of home plate. An excellent play by Twins catcher Montgomery kept the perfect game intact with a nice throw-out at first in a bang-bang play.
   McKinney took care of the rest with two more Ks to bring an end to the second.
   Two more runs were added to the Twins tally in the top of the third as Sheets was pegged by a Childers offering to start the frame.
   Dugger singled to put runners on the corners. Luster worked Childers for a walk to load the bags.
   White picked up his third RBI of the game on a walk. Durant chased Luster home on another walk after a fielder's choice eliminated Dugger on a force out at the dish.
   Smoke was coming from Montgomery's mitt in the bottom of the third as McKinney was whiffing through the CCM lineup like a John Deere tractor in a knee-high patch of grass.
   Meanwhile, the Twins were looking to make short work on this night as they managed to tally two more runs in the top of the fourth.
   Reed notched his second hit of the night and was driven home on a double smashed down the third-base line by McKinney. Montgomery picked up his battery mate with a single to close out the offense for the Twins.
   After getting Josh Murphy on a strikeout, Nick Kyte looked like he might bring an end to the perfect game on a slow roller toward second.
   Twins second baseman Dugger made a great play to get the speedy Kyte out in a split-second reaction to first baseman Sheets. McKinney closed out the game on a high note with his 10th strikeout and a perfect game in tow.
   "Ben threw well tonight to get his first perfect game," said Bill McKinney, who is also the pitcher's father. "He and Lance have had a good season to this point, and I hope we can do well in our remaining four games of the regular season."
   6-Sigma 5
   Burgie Drug 1
   After upsetting the Twins earlier in the week, 6-Sigma came back with a solid win over Burgie Drug despite a 12-strikeout performance by Burgie's Casey Crapps.
   The game was tighter than a sailor's knot through the first two innings, with both teams struggling to dent the scoring column.
   6-Sigma finally broke out in a big way in the visitors' portion of the third inning.
   Korey Hardin singled and was followed up by a walk to Seth Davis. D.J. Reece laced a single scoring Hardin to give the Sigma team a 1-0 advantage.
   Richard Lovelace then stroked a triple that allowed Davis and Reece to score easily for the 3-0 edge after two and a half complete innings.
   Cody Tolley worked the way a manager likes to see from his pitcher. The young man didn't have a lot of strikeouts, only five, but managed to get Burgie's hitters to put the ball where his defense could make the plays.
   Sigma added a solo run in the top of the fourth after third baseman Logan Loving singled and worked his way around to score.
   Burgie was able to get men on base, but struggled to get the key hit when it needed it the most. Meanwhile, 6-Sigma tallied its final run in the top of the sixth.
   Lovelace reached on an error by Burgie's second baseman. Eric Norman picked Lovelace up with a single to close out the scoring on the night for 6-Sigma.
   Burgie kept from having goose eggs across the board in its last at bat.
   Daniel Wilson was hit by a Tolley offering. Wilson worked his way to third, from where he scored on a ground-ball out by right fielder Lucas Birchfield.
   "It was a complete team effort tonight," said 6-Sigma manager Ken Hardin. " We got the big hits when we needed them with runners on base, and we sure hope that Eric Norman is going to be okay."
   Norman was injured in a freakish way as he was getting up from third base after being tagged out trying to advance on a hit by one of his teammates.
   It appeared that he might have possibly injured his MCL, and he was taken for further examination.