It was a night off for the fingernails at “June”?Shaffer Memorial?Park stadium last night.
Emotionally, the Chillicothe Mudcats had about as angst-free a 2-1 victory as you could have as they clipped the visiting Kansas City Monarchs for a second time in five nights.
A triple by Matt Thomas, who returned from two weeks in dry dock with an opening-night finger injury, and a throwing error on a grounder on the next fourth-inning play provided the deciding run for the college-level, wood-bat baseball Mudcats as they defeated the non-league opponent again.
With the Monarchs being a relatively-light-hitting club, the 2-0 lead Thomas’ run generated seemed pretty comfortable. Even after a Mudcats miscue put the Kansas Citians on the scoreboard in the seventh, the sense was that they were not going to score again.
“If that’s a MINK (League) team, we probably lose tonight,” Chillicothe head coach?Eric Peterson commented on his own perception that the Monarchs don’t pose a big risk of scoring a lot. In 18 innings against the Mudcats now, they have one run – none earned.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have. We didn’t pitch as well as we could have,” the coach of the Fish continued.
“…We’ll take an ugly win any night. A ‘W’ is a ‘W.’”
With the victory, the Mudcats continue to tread water as they await the arrival of addition players and pitchers, standing .500 overall for the season at
8-8. They are 6-8 in-league.
Having finished a week-long, 7-game homestand with four wins and three losses, including two non-league victories over the Monarchs, the Mudcats resume league play tonight with a 7 p.m. game at Clarinda, Iowa.
Tonight's scheduled starting pitcher for Chillicothe at Clarinda is lefthander Sam Wood (0-1).
Clarinda’s A's dropped out of the league's North Division lead last night when they fell to visiting Nevada, 11-8.
By virtue of a 6-0 home win over Omaha Diamond Spirit last night, the St. Joseph Mustangs – last year’s league champs – took possession of first place in the North for the first time this year with a 6-5 league record. Clarinda is a half-game out, Omaha one game back, and the Mustangs 11⁄2 out.
Following tonight's action in Iowa, the Mudcats will travel the other direction at midday Friday to begin back-to-back 3-game road series in southwest Missouri at Nevada, starting Saturday night. After playing there through Monday, Chillicothe will be at Joplin next Tuesday through Thursday before returning home next Friday to host Clarinda.
Thomas' run in the third inning didn't seem to loom large at the time as it gave the Mudcats a 2-0 lead near the mid-point of a game in which they seemed like to generate additional scoring. However, when the misfired on two excellent future chances – a bases-full, 1-out situation in the fifth and a second-and-third, no-outs opportunity in the seventh, it turned out that unearned fourth-inning tally was the game-winner.
“At least we’re getting in those situations,” Peterson said of the missed scoring chances, a recurring obstacle to sustained success thus far this season. “We could be not getting in those.”
The Mudcats ended up leaving nine runners on last night, but Peterson believes an upturn in productivity is not far away.