Mudcats halt 3-games losing streak with 10-0 victory in Monday's opener, 2-0 triumph in 4-innings nightcap
By PAUL STURM, Constitution-Tribune Sports Editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Getting an assist from the weather, the Chilicothe Mudcats college-level baseball team claimed a pair of non-league victories over the visiting Spooner (Wis.) Bandits Monday night.
With threatening weather in the region moving closer and closer, the Mudcats followed a dominating 10-0 victory in game one of a doubleheader of scheduled 7-innings games with a 2-0 triumph in a second game which lasted only the minimum half of its slated length.
With the Mudcats batting in the bottom of the fourth inning of the second game just as 9 p.m. passed, lightning was deemed close enough by team officials to clear the field and suspend play. Within a couple of minutes, as more lightning ensued and approaching rain could be seen in the western sky, the umpires called the game complete. Within minutes, substantial rain which would have forced at least a lengthy delay, if not a permanent halt to the evening's play, arrived.
For the Mudcats, the outing and the results provided a reprieve from a recent mini-slump in MINK League play.
Beaten in their last three league outings – each of which they led midway through, Chillicothe took advantage of the Wisconsin team to snap its skid and boost its overall record to 15-11.
The Mudcats will travel the next two days – first going south all the way to Nevada (nuh-VAY-duh), Mo., this evening to make up Saturday's rainout there. Game time will be 7 p.m. with righthander Michael Klein from the University of Nebraska the scheduled Chillicothe starting pitcher.
Tomorrow, the Mudcats will go north into Iowa to again meet the Clarinda A's, who helped Chillicothe last night by edging MINK North Division leader St. Joseph 2-1. That inches the Mudcats back within 11⁄2 games of the division lead with still half of the league season – 22 games – left.
Monday's first game saw the Mudcats' first five batters hit safely, creating a quick 3-0 lead which grew to 7-0 in the second inning when the first four batters reached safely on three more hits and a walk.
Despite early control issues which saw him give walks to three of the first give Spooner batters, Chillicothe left-hander Vin Roth (1-1) managed to last five innings without damage. He allowed only two hits. Josh Guerra came on to work the last two innings in 6-up, 6-down fashion.
The Mudcats created the double-digits final spread by tacking on three runs in their last half-inning, utilizing the last five of their total of 15 hits.
In the opener, Chillicothe center fielder Corban Williams celebrated a return to the leadoff spot in the lineup by going three for three with a walk. Right behind him, Al Robbins was three for three with three runs scored. Ripping two hits each with multiple runs batted in were Todd Czinege, Derek Nakasato, and Norry Galjour. Czinege knocked in three runs and the other two a couple apiece. Jarod Hahn also drove in two.
The second game began with the bad weather a possibility to arrive at almost any moment. However, the nearest clouds seemed to keep slipping past to the north or south, creating a window of opportunity to get a sufficient number of innings in for an official game.
Chillicothe took advantage of that opportunity, posting a pair of first-inning runs and then riding solid pitching to another shutout.
Savannah High alumnus and former North Central Missouri College (Trenton) hurler Caleb Bounds (2-1) threw all four innings for the Mudcats. Spooner picked up a mere two hits off of him, but left a man at third in both the first and fourth innings.
Chillicothe also had only two hits in game two, but both came in the first inning when the first four batters reached safely. The Mudcats won without a run batted in as a double-steal by Josh Ethier and Nick Quejado produced its first run and a bad throw to home plate on a bases-full fly out to right when no one initially tried to score.
With the arrival of the precipitation expected at almost any moment, the Wisconsin team threatened to do its first scoring and perhaps deny Chillicothe the sweep in the fourth inning of the nightcap. However, after a single and walk, a would-be sacrifice bunt was grabbed by Bounds in time to throw to third for a forceout. Second baseman Czinege then picked a ball nicely on the backhand in time to get a force at second for the second out of the visitors' fourth. A line drive to center then found Nakasato playing shallow and able to glove it rather easily for the last out.
Only two pitches were made to the first Chillicothe batter in the home fourth before play was halted.