Host Mudcats let early 2-0 lead get away with lax defensive execution in MINK League play.
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — The outlaws tracked down the good guys and did 'em in at "June" Shaffer Memorial Park stadium Friday night.
The Joplin Outlaws, hot on the trail of a MINK League South Division baseball title in what is expected to be their last season of existence, gave the Chillicothe Mudcats a 2-0 head start after three innings, then chased them down to win 4-2 and stay a half-game behind Sedalia in the MINK South.
Chillicothe, which began Friday tied with St. Joseph for the league's North Division lead, ended the day back 1-1/2 games behind the Mustangs when St. Joseph capitalized on the Mudcats' loss with a home doubleheader sweep of Branson.
Chillicothe and Joplin, which kept pace with Sedalia with its victory, will play the finale of their 2-games set in Chillicothe Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m.
Saturday evening's game will be preceded by a short ceremony honoring Chillicothe native Ted Hicks, a member of the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. Hicks, whose national fast-pitch softball exploits in the 1970s and ’80s came while living and working in Illinois, moved back to Chillicothe a couple of years ago after retiring from his job. He is a 1970 Chillicothe High graduate.
Fans attending tonight's game also will have a chance to win a voucher redeemable for a pair of tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals 2014 game of his or her choice. In addition, it will be a "Baseball Bingo" game at which all fans age 18 years and older can – free of charge – try to win Missouri Lottery scratch-off tickets as prizes, including a "blackout" prize of 50 such tickets.
Friday's game was decided when Chillicothe's defense faltered a second time.
Having scored an unearned run to tie the score 2-2 in the seventh, Joplin had a runner at second base with one out in the eighth when an errant throw on an attempted fielder's choice play to third allowed Outlaw John Boidanis to score on a close play as the ball was chased down.
Batter Colton Krokoski reached second base on the play and scored an insurance run when Chris Scroggins' smash to drawn-in first baseman Michael Klein – a pitcher by trade – went off either the end of his glove or right knee and into shallow center field.
The Mudcats couldn't deliver any response as they were blanked in the final six innings of the game.
Chillicothe's runs scored in the third on Dane Fujinaka's RBI single that scored Reyn Sugai and a 2-outs fielding error.
Suffering his first loss of the season for Chillicothe was left-hander Robert Beltran (3-1). He was charged with all four runs – three earned – in 7-1/3 innings. The win went to Joplin's first of three relievers – Chad Bradford (3-3).
The Mudcats were out-hit 8-6 with Sugai and Fujinaka each collecting two hits for the home team.