Bombers hang on in ninth for 4-3 home win. Mudcats drop three games behind St. Joseph in MINK League North race.
SEDALIA, Mo. — While not quite a truism, there is a common-sense admonition in sports that “to be the best, you have to beat the best.”
The 2014 Chillicothe Mudcats remain the hunter – not the hunted – early in the second half of their MINK League season because they are proving the veracity of that theory.
The Sedalia Bombers, leaders of the MINK League’s South Division maintained their mastery of the Mudcats Saturday night, edging Chillicothe 4-3 at Liberty Park.
The loss snapped a 4-games Mudcats winning streak and left it 16-11 overall and 13-11 in the league.
It was the teams’ fourth and final meeting of the regular season and Sedalia’s fourth win over the Mudcats.
At the same time, North Division-leading St. Joseph was shading the Nevada Griffons 3-2 to increase their division lead over the Mudcats to three full games. St. Joseph had nipped Sedalia 3-2 in 14 innings late Friday night.
Through eight clashes with the league’s current division leaders – it has four to go with St. Joseph in the final week of the season, Chillicothe has won only one. If it had managed to split with the Mustangs and Bombers, it would have been tied for first place in the North entering last night’s home doubleheader with Omaha, not in danger of losing contact with the North leader.
Saturday’s game at Sedalia saw Mudcats outfielder Derek Nakasato become only the second Fish to knock the ball over the wall this season, but his home run leading off the fourth inning only provided a very brief lead for Chillicothe.
Sedalia answered right back against Mudcats starting and losing pitcher Riley Echols (1-2), putting its first three men aboard in the bottom of the fourth and scoring two to take the lead for keeps.
The Bombers, guided by former Mudcats head coach “Jud” Kindle, added a run which ended up being the difference in the second on a walk, a hit-and-run single, and a wild pitch.
Chillicothe made a bid to pull it out in the ninth, but fell short after Jarod Hahn’s 2-outs single scored Todd Czinege. Hahn was sent to third by Michael Klein’s double to left, but Reyn Sugai’s looper to short left was tracked down by the shortstop to strand the runners.