With ex-Kansas City Royals star Willie Wilson in the house, Mudcats roll over A's 8-1
By PAUL STURM, Constitution-Tribune sports editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — The Chillicothe Mudcats college-level, wood-bat baseball team received what's becoming its customary strong pitching and spiced it with a big night offensively from its infielders as the Mudcats pounded the Clarinda (Iowa) A's 8-1 in front of a large crowd which included Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame member Willie Wilson Saturday night, June 21, 2014.
The victory at "June" Shaffer Memorial Park stadium boosted the Mudcats' MINK League record to 11-7, still 1-1/2 games behind North Division leader St. Joseph. St. Joseph blanked South leader Sedalia 1-0 at St. Joseph to maintain their margin over Chillicothe, which now stands 12-7 overall.
The Mudcats will be idle both Sunday and Monday before hosting Clarinda again on Tuesday.
While Chillicothe starting pitcher Michael Klein (2-0), son of 1980s Nebraska Cornhuskers placekicker Dale Klein, and three relievers were holding Clarinda to one run and four hits, the Mudcats attack was accumulating 13 hits and eight runs.
Most of the offensive damage was done by Mudcats infielders. First baseman Todd Czinege (ZIHN-ugg-ee) and second baseman Al Robbins had back-to-back 2-runs doubles in the bottom of the fifth inning as Chillicothe snapped a 1-1 tie. Third baseman Nick Quejado went four for four with two runs scored and one driven in and shortstop Josh Ethier (EETH-ee-urr) went three for five with a run scored and one knocked in. He's now hitting a team-best .381.
As a group, the Chillicothe infielders were 10 for 16 with five runs scored and six driven in.
Center fielder Corban Williams added two runs batted in and a run scored and the game's defensive gem with a diving catch in short right-center field in the second inning to possibly save a run.
After breaking on top in the second inning on Quejado's 2-outs, RBI single to right-center field, the Mudcats saw Clarinda come right back to tie it in the next half-inning, thanks to Klein's own throwing error. The Chillicothe starter pitched around a teammate's 2-outs error after the Iowans tied it, starting a stretch in which the A's had only two hits in the final 6-1/3 innings.
Derringer Huff tossed two innings of hitless relief before Adam Cross, formerly of Trenton's North Central Missouri College Pirates, and Robert Beltran each worked one frame.
That followed four shutout innings at Clarinda the night before and five innings of 2-hits, 1-run work the game before that.
In fact, Mudcats relievers have yielded only one run in their last 18 innings and two in their last 26-1/3. Beyond that, they have given up only 10 hits in those 26-1/3 innings which stretch across the last 10 games.