Moberly claims crown with perfect 4-0 mark, including 4-2 Saturday victory over Cardinals
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
For a spell as late afternoon melted into mid-evening yesterday, it looked like cosmic forces were coming together for the Chillicothe Cardinals senior (AAA) American Legion baseball team sponsored by Vern R. Glick Post No. 25.
Needing help from Trenton’s Post 31 Blue Jays to beat out Moberly for the championship of the inaugural Chillicothe Gatson/Coleman Memorial Tournament, Chillicothe nearly got that against-long-odds aid.
Having lost to Moberly 4-2 the day before, the Cardinals were left to hope for Trenton to hand Moberly a surprise loss in Sunday’s second-to-last game in the 5-teams round-robin-format event at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park stadium.
When Moberly zoomed to a commanding 11-2 lead, there appeared no hope for Chillicothe, but Trenton roared back with eight runs in the third inning to get close. Not only had the Blue Jays made it a 1-run game, but they’d scored enough runs that, if they won, Chillicothe would prevail on the second-tier tiebreaker in the 3-ways tie between the Cardinals, Trenton, and Moberly which would result from a Post 31 victory.
Moberly tried to regain command with six runs in its third, but Trenton clawed back within 17-13 in the fourth.
At that point, the 2:10 time limit per game began to loom as a factor working against Trenton – and, by extrapolation, Chillicothe. If Trenton couldn’t start getting Moberly’s Sixers out a bit more quickly, less than the scheduled seven innings would be able to be played.
However, in a sharp turnabout, each team’s offenses petered out. Moberly didn’t score in the home fourth and neither club got on the board in a quick fifth.
After Trenton was blanked in the visitors’ sixth, only seven minutes remained before the deadline for a new inning starting.
When the Blue Jays got the first two outs, then yielded a single, the sense was that time would run out on it and the host Cardinals. However, when the next batter lined out to left field, as Moberly took the field, technically starting the seventh inning, it still was one minute before the time limit. Trenton would get its seventh and final chance.
The Blue Jays got a couple of men on right away and eventually pushed a run across. However, with the batter representing the potential tying run, a popup ended the game and clinched the tournament championship for Moberly.
The Sixers then went on to make it an unbeaten run through the tourney with a 12-2, 6-innings rout of the North Central Missouri Falcons from the general Brookfield vicinity.
That left Moberly as undisputed champions with a 4-0 mark and Chillicothe alone in second at 3-1. Each of them received a team plaque.
The Cardinals, who squared their 2014 record at 4-4 as their weekend quartet of games was their first action since June 1, completed their slate in the tourney yesterday with a comeback 10-4 victory over the Sedalia Bombers non-Legion team. Chillicothe trailed that game 4-1 after four innings.
On Friday, Chillicothe had opened the tournament with a late-eruption 12-2 verdict over Trenton. The hosts also played the first two games Saturday, clipping North Central Missouri 13-3 in six innings before falling to Moberly 4-2 in a game in which they were no-hit by Sixers lefthander Garrett West. West is not a normal member of the Moberly squad, but was added for the tournament because, according to tournament manager Larry Warren and Moberly team reps, numerous Sixers had other obligations either Saturday or Sunday.