Trailing 3-2 after five, Fish score seven runs in sixth, continue pulling away behind four RBI each from Justin Blasinski and Bryce Bisenius, fine relief pitching.
LIBERTY, Mo. — Although none of this year’s Chillicothe Mudcats coaches or players likely realized it – given that they weren’t around to witness or experience it, others associated with the college-level, summer baseball team knew Wednesday night’s contest with the KC Monarchs team from the Kansas City Amateur Baseball Association wasn’t a sure win, even though it ended as a 17-4 triumph.
A year ago, in Chillicothe’s second game of the season and its home opener, the Monarchs walked away 5-2 winners. The Mudcats’ countering conquest later in the season only balanced the scales and was by no means easy.
Thus, when the Monarchs – hosting the Fish this time in the first of, again, two planned meetings this year – overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit with two runs in their second and a go-ahead marker in the fourth Wednesday, there was legitimate reason for concern.
To the Mudcats’ credit, though, they did what first-year head coach Jack Winters believes they should be able to do against any regular-season, non-league foe – wear them down as the game goes along.
Still behind 3-2 entering the top of the sixth inning at Liberty’s Fountain Bluff Complex, Chillicothe (3-2) at last got to tiring Monarchs starting pitcher Nick Caldrone and then tormented the KCABA club’s bullpen for 15 runs across the last four innings.
After holding the Fish to three hits and two runs through five, Caldrone could not get an out while facing four batters in the sixth, departing after two singles and two walks had pushed Chillicothe ahead, 4-3.
By the time reliever Luke Kassal got the inning’s third out, the Mudcats had batted 11 men and scored seven runs to grab the game by the throat.
They’d add five more in the eighth and three in the ninth while relievers Trevor Maly (1-0) and Blake Collister were silencing the Kansas City team’s bats during their combined five innings. Maly allowed one run on two hits from the fourth through the sixth in relief of starter Matt Herman and Collister, from Keytesville in neighboring Chariton County, set down all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth.
Offensively, the second-half onslaught of 15 runs on 14 hits left several individuals with very big numbers.
None were bigger than left fielder Justin Blasinski’s four hits and four runs batted in. He scored twice and, with his second 4-hits game already, has nine RBI and a .462 batting average (12 of 26) through five games.
Matching his run production was the man behind him in the lineup, first baseman Bryce Bisenius. He doubled twice and singled to garner his four RBI. He likewise already has nine runs knocked in.
Right fielder Tanner Baker, hitting behind Bisenius, smacked two hits and drove in three runs, while the Mudcat who immediately preceded that trio – center fielder Christian Hoplock – reached and scored four times.
When leadoff man Ramger Iglesias poked a single in the ninth inning, it meant every Mudcat who batted had at least one hit and one run scored. Hoplock and designated hitter Devonte Washington joined Baker in having two hits and No. 9 hitter Kenny Jarema scored three times.
The Monarchs wound up with only seven hits off the four Chillicothe pitchers, a mere three over the last six innings.
The Mudcats return to MINK League play Thursday night for the first of three home games in three nights against struggling Nevada (Mo.).
The Griffons have dropped all five of their league games thus far, including a 9-6 home defeat by Ozark Wednesday.