CHILLICOTHE ♦ The Chillicothe Mudcats' college-level, wood-bat baseball team was tied 4-4 midway through their MINK League baseball home game against the Sedalia Bombers, but then sent 23 batters to the plate, scoring 13 times, in the fifth and sixth innings combined to shoot down the Bombers 18-5 at "June" Shaffer Memorial Park stadium Friday night.
Five Mudcats had three hits or more, led by Tanner Bily's 4-for-6 night, and leadoff man David Zorn turned into a run producer with four runs batted in as Chillicothe bounced back from consecutive losses to the league's North Division leader Clarinda, Iowa, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Beneficiary of the 21-hits Mudcats attack was righthander Derek Birginske, who lasted five innings in his first start of the season and got credit for the win. He was charged with four runs– all earned, but three of those came on a bases-loaded double by the last batter he faced in the top of the fifth, Nick DeLorenzo, who played well for the Mudcats as a postseason pickup in last year's Heartland Regional tournament.
Brock Downey threw two shutout innings of relief and another left-hander, little-used Jake Comment, gave up a run while working the last two innings.
In addition to the four hits by the recently-arrived Bily, the Mudcats had three hits apiece by Zorn, Reyn Sugai, Kyler Offenbacker, and Nathan Lukes, who drove in three runs. 2011 Chillicothe High School alumnus Zach Douglas caught the last three innings and reached base in both of his plate appearances, including his first hit in nine at-bats as a Mudcat. He also scored a run.
Despite Friday's victory, which improved the Mudcats to 11-11 in the league and 15-11 overall this summer, Chillicothe failed to gain any ground in the North Division race and actually dropped out of a tie for second place. Clarinda won its last to stay two full games ahead of the Mudcats, while St. Joseph swept a home doubleheader from Ozark to move a half-game ahead of Chillicothe and into sole possession of secnod place in the North.
Next for the Mudcats is a Saturday night league doubleheader against the Ozark Generals, who were swept in a twinbill at St. Joseph Friday night. Mudcats head coach and pitching coach Eric Peterson plans to send righthander Andrew Bramley (1-1) and lefty Jon Glidewell (0-2) to the hill as the starters.