Chillicothe college-level baseball team posts fourth triumph in a row Saturday, keeping Nevada winless. On to Trenton for "home" game Monday
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
For a team which had won three games in a row, including two in a row in its final at-bat, and an opponent on a 7-games losing streak – including those consecutive late-comeback contests by its foe, when the latter left the bases loaded twice in the first three innings Saturday, the eventual outcome of their MINK League baseball game seemed only too predictable.
After limiting the visiting Nevada Griffons to only one tally from its big threats in the first third of the game, the Chillicothe Mudcats college-level team snapped a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning on Anthony Lantigua’s 2-runs double and held on for its fourth win in a row and sixth of the season, 3-2.
When Zack Mathes entered and forced Nevada to leave the potential tying run at second base in the eighth inning and Trevor Maly worked a hitless, scoreless ninth, the Mudcats had improved to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the league. Nevada had continued its season-starting plummet to 0-9 overall and 0-7 in-league.
Saturday night at Chillicothe’s “June” Shaffer Memorial Park stadium, the Mudcats posted not only their fourth win in a row, but also their fourth-straight come-from-behind “W.”
Down 1-0 after a half-inning, but also having avoided a big inning, Chillicothe drew even in the second on Bryce Bisenius’ 1-out double and three 2-outs walks in succession. Kenny Ja-rema got the free RBI.
Mudcats starting pitcher Isaac Rubendall and reliever Dan Naif and Nevada hurlers Jake Fraze and Cameron Fowler kept it 1-1 into the seventh before Fowler cracked a bit.
Kody Gardner, whose walkoff double had won the prior night’s clash, led off the Mudcats’ seventh with a line-drive single to right field. Jarema’s sacrifice bunt moved Gardner into scoring position and the runner tagged and took third as a fly ball was caught in right-center field for the second out.
Christian Hoplock waited out a base on balls in a 7-pitches duel with Fowler and, on the next offering, Lantigua pulled a double down the left-field line, plating both runners for the Mudcats’ first lead, 3-1.
When Naif faltered in his third inning of work, Mathes came to the rescue and Maly then finished up, keeping the Fish rising and winless Griffons sinking fast.
A Chillicothe team constructed to be dynamic defensively and on the hill still committed a couple of errors, but the “D” also provided one of the contest’s pivotal moments in the fifth.
Following a leadoff double by Nevada first baseman Nick Kreutzer, Fish third sacker Jarema gloved a routine grounder to his left and prepared to throw to first for the first out. However, when he glanced at second base while preparing to throw the batter out, he realized Kreutzer was about 15 feet off the bag.
With a quick resetting of his feet, the Misericordia University infielder threw behind the runner at second and had him trapped. Lantigua took the throw and chased down Kreut-zer as he tried for third.
After a popup for the second out, the man at first – catcher Ben Bayless, like Kreutzer not very fleet afoot – attempted to steal second and was thrown out easily by Dawsen Bacho to end the inning with the score still square at 1-1.
Statistically, Chillicothe finally out-hit Nevada, 8-7. One night after stranding 14 in a 9-innings, 4-3 loss to the Mudcats, the visitors left 10 more aboard.
Individually, all four Mudcats hurlers acquitted themselves well enough.
Rubendall allowed six hits, but only one earned run, in five innings. Naif (1-1) threw two blanks before being charged with the Nevada run in the eighth. Mathes, a starter used in limited relief on his “bullpen” day got the only guy he faced and Maly had a solid ninth to get his first save.
Lantigua had the Fish’s only multi-hits game, going two for four with the two critical runs batted in.
After its first day off Sunday, Chillicothe will meet the Cassville Arrows a second time this year in a non-league game at Trenton tonight. The Fish and the Arrows team which operated under a Springfield banner a year ago will go at it at Burleigh Grimes Field in Eastside Park, starting at 7:05 p.m.
Mudcat righthander Blake Collister, a freshman at Trenton’s North Central Missouri College this past school year and member of NCMC’s diamond Pirates, is to get the start on the familiar mound.
He’s been in two games thus far out of the bullpen, working a total of three innings in two non-league games with two hits allowed and an earned-run average of 3.00.