Fall 3-2 at Clarinda, Iowa, on walk-off wild pitch Tuesday. Club ends summer 29-18.
CLARINDA, Iowa — Although the circumstances were different, the Chillicothe Mudcats’ 2014 bade “adieu” last night the way the majority of their 12 predecessors’ did – with a loss at Municipal Stadium in Clarinda, Iowa.
Whereas seven of the organization’s first 10 campaigns concluded with the Mudcats losing a Central USA Regional Tournament elimination game– the other three years, the Fish ended their season in the National Baseball Congress World Series, the ’14 club put a wrap on things for another summer of local college-level, wood-bat baseball with a 3-2 walk-off loss to the host A’s in their regular-season finale.
After Adam Falcon walked the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 2-2 contest, a sacrifice bunt pushed the runners to second and third bases for Gavin Golsan. Given former closer Falcon’s latest faltering effort, Mudcats head coach Tai Mitchell and assistant/pitching coach Wally Marciel tried to salvage the inning and take the season finale into extra innings by calling on a new reliever, Derringer Huff.
However, Huff fired his first pitch well past catcher Dane Fujinaka and to the backstop, allowing Sam Brooks to dart home from third base with the winning run.
That left Falcon (1-2), virtually untouchable the first few weeks of the season, and the Fish with the loss.
For the Mudcats, it meant a final overall record of 29-18 and a MINK League mark of 26-18. In a virtual tie for the division lead exactly two weeks before, they finished second in the league’s North Division, a fast-fading 31⁄2 games behind St. Joseph.
Despite the late slump and a second-straight year of fewer than 30 victories after four consecutive years above that level, the 2014 Mudcats’ .619 winning percentage still ranks as the fifth-best in the team’s 13-years history.
That result and the team’s overall performance was enough that the team’s oversight board has verbally offered first-year head coach Mitchell a contract to return for a second season in the post. Mitchell, an assistant on the 2013 team, has accepted.