Paul Trenhaile single in 10th plates winner, triggers sweep of Omaha Diamond Spirit
CHILLICOTHE • After three times erasing deficits to tie the scheduled 7-innings, opening game of their MINK League home doubleheader with the Omaha Diamond Spirit Saturday night – and each time letting good opportunities to take the lead or win the game get away, the Chillicothe Mudcats college-level, wood-bat baseball team received a walk-off hit for the second game in a row to beat the Omahans 6-5 in 10 innings. The Mudcats then completed a sweep of the twinbill with a third-straight 1-run win, 2-1 in the nightcap.
Chillicothe lefthanded relief pitcher Brock Downey, who toils for his hometown Murray State University during the school year, got credit for his first victory in the opener by making two pitches to get the last out of the top of the 10th on a deep fly to left. He then relieved again in game two, taking over from starter Zach Davis of Carrollton and the University of Central Missouri in the sixth and getting the final four outs for his first save. He did give up the only Diamond Spirit run of the finale on a 2-outs single in the seventh, but got the next man to bounce out to end it.
The tight sweep allowed Chillicothe to go two games above .500 on the season for the first time at 11-9 and to move to 6-9 in league play entering a 7:05 p.m. league home game Sunday against the St. Joseph Mustangs. The Mudcats' starting pitcher for the game against the defending league champions was not certain, as of Saturday night.
Saturday's opener ended in its fourth extra inning when Paul Trenhaile of Hannibal and Truman State University roped a 2-outs single down the left-field line to score A.J. Hermanson from second base without a play. Trenhaile (trenn-hayl) had missed chances to give his club the lead or the win in each of his three at-bats prior to his game-winner, but left a total of seven men aboard as he made the last outs of the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings. The walk-off blow off in the 10th came after Hermanson, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth, had reached on a 1-out error in his only plate appearance of the game and moved to second on David Zorn's sacrifice bunt which was fumbled for the eighth Diamond Spirit error. After Trevor Jones flied out, Trenhaile delivered on a 1-1 pitch.
Hitless through 4-2/3 innings in game one, Chillicothe tied it 1-1 on consecutive infield hits and an Omaha error in the fifth. After the visitors then scored three runs in the top of the sixth, the Mudcats' first four batters in their half singled and, helped by two more Diamond Spirit misplays, tied the score 4-4.
In the first extra inning, the Nebraska team again moved in front, only to hand back the lead with shoddy bunt defense that set up a 2-on, none-out chance. With two outs, runners still were at first and second when speedy Trevor Jones rolled the ball to the shortstop. The Mudcats outfielder got the call on a bang-bang play at first base and, while he was doing that, Tyler Langley, who had been the runner at second, was waved home. The first baseman made a relatively-quick, accurate throw to the catcher, but an excellent, head-first slide to the foul side of the plate by Langley earned the "safe" call to knot it once more at 5-5.
Chillicothe's defense, while not flawless, did its part to help the game stay in reach. The Fish turned four double plays in the opener, including to end the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
In game two, Chillicothe broke on top with a first-inning run as Jones reached without a play on a drag bunt and scored from second on Hermanson's 2-out hit to center field.
Nathan Lukes reached on an error and scored on another in the third to increase the Mudcats' lead to two.
That proved to be just enough as Carrollton left-hander Davis checked the Omahans on three hits through 5-2/3 innings before Downey came on to save it.