NEVADA, Mo. — With the odds of capturing the MINK League’s 2013 North Division crown getting slimmer by the day, the Chillicothe Mudcats couldn’t let another early lead get away Sunday night. Thanks to gritty starting pitching by staff ace Andrew Bramley and a productive third of their lineup, they did not.
Bramley survived three bases-full jams in six innings with only two runs yielded in those frames to earn his staff-best third win and A.J. Hermanson, Alex Gutierrez, and Kyler Offenbacker – in the Nos. 6-8 spots in the lineup – combined for seven hits, five runs batted in, and three runs scored in the bottom half of the Chillicothe lineup as the Mudcats held off the ragged Nevada Griffons 8-5 in league play at Lyons Park stadium.
"He was excellent in pressure situations, limiting the big innings and giving us a chance to win," Eric Peterson, Mudcats second-year head coach, said of Bramley’s tough-minded pitching.
Speaking of the attack, Peterson said succinctly, "The bottom half of the order won the game for us."
That ended an ill-timed 5-games losing streak for Chillicothe, its second of that length this summer.
For the Mudcats, idle Monday and with non-league contests upcoming tomorrow and Friday, salvaging one win from their six 2013 clashes with MINK South Division-leading Nevada hopefully will be a positive omen.
That’s because they have lost all five meetings to date with the team they’re chasing in the North Division, the Clarinda (Iowa) A’s. Beating the A’s in their season-series finale in Chillicothe July 16 will be almost obligatory if the Mudcats are to make a stirring stretch run to the championship.
Clarinda doesn’t seem keen on cooperating with Chillicothe’s comeback hopes. It won for a fifth time in its last seven league games last night, stomping visiting Sedalia 8-3. That makes the Iowa team 13-3 at home with nine of its next 10 MINK outings coming there.
Now 17-11 in the league, if the A’s cool way off and only play .500 ball the rest of the way, Chillicothe (15-15, 19-16 overall) would have to go 9-3 to catch them. At the same time, St. Joseph – which the Mudcats will play four times the rest of the way – would have to do no better than 8-5 down the stretch for the Fish to overtake them, too.