Reliever from Illinois throws 3-2/3 scoreless innings, Dawsen Bacho has three hits, three RBI as MINK League North Division leaders hand Joplin its seventh loss in a row, 9-5

JOPLIN, Mo. — A trio of Chillicothe Mudcats pitchers – most prominently reliever Trevor Maly – combined to frustrate the host Joplin Outlaws again and again and again Friday night, causing the struggling Outlaws to strand a mind-boggling 18 baserunners in nine innings in Chillicothe’s 9-5 MINK League victory.
The result from the opener of the clubs’ 3-games series at Joe Becker Stadium near downtown Joplin kept both sides’ early-season streaks alive.
One night after having a home game it trailed by two runs in the top of the ninth inning interrupted and halted, due to inclement weather, Chillicothe (10-2, 5-2 MINK) gained its eighth victory in its last eight completed games.
Friday’s defeat was the seventh-straight for foundering Joplin (3-10, 3-10).
In addition to matching matching the 8-games winning string five prior Mudcats clubs have achieved – most recently in 2012,  Friday’s triumph allowed this year’s team to tie the 2004 Fish for the best record after 12 games. It had equaled the third-ever Mudcats team’s 9-2 mark through 11 games with last Wednesday’s win at Clarinda, Iowa, before having Thursday’s game go into the “suspended” category.
Chillicothe kept pace with St. Joseph in the early battle for first place in the league’s North Division. The Mustangs detonated Ozark 20-2 at home Friday to rise to 14-5 overall and 11-5 in league play.
Heading into Saturday’s play, Chillicothe had the division’s and league’s best winning percentage (in league play) at a sizzling .750, while San Jose’s was a robust .688. In terms of games ahead or behind, based on wins and losses, the Ponies remained a game ahead – having won five more times and lost three more than the Fish.
Speaking of suspended, it was reported on a broadcast of Friday’s game that the ejections of Jack Winters, Mudcats first-year head coach, and pitcher Zack Mathes shortly before Thursday’s game was stopped have led to a 5-games suspension of the coach and 3-games sentence for starting rotation member Mathes by the league commissioner. Neither will be allowed at the ballpark during the team’s games during their punishment. Assistant coach Ken Durling will guide the team until Winters is eligible to return for, barring any rainouts in the interim, the June 22 game at Sedalia. The head coach will miss one home game – Tuesday – and also the club’s first contest of the year at St. Joseph, the geographic rival with which the Fish currently is battling for first place in the league’s North Division.
Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Joplin, Chillicothe will have a chance to tie the team record for consecutive victories when it sends righthander Isaac Rubendall (0-0) to the Becker Stadium hill for his third start.
The first Mudcats team ever to secure nine consecutive triumphs was the 2008 club coached by current Sedalia general manager “Jud” Kindle. It won all nine games it played from July 16-26, eclipsing the 8-games standard first set by the 2003 team and subsequently matched in 2004, 2009, 2012, and now in 2017.
The 2012 Fish went on to extend their run to the record-tying nine in a row when they capped a surge which had begun on June 27 with a July 6 victory.
If this year’s team joins the 9-straight-wins fraternity Saturday night, it also will become the organization’s first group to begin a season 11-2 or better.
Friday night at Joplin, Chillicothe led throughout after its first two batters reached base and scored during a 3-runs first inning.
Ramger Iglesias followed his single to right-center field with a swipe of second base on a close play. That set him up to score easily when Kody Gardner ripped a drive off the chummy high wall in right field.
With one out, Justin Blasinski singled Gardner home from third and, after a productive groundout moved “JB” along to second, Dawsen Bacho’s first of his three hits produced the first of his three runs batted in on the night.
Staked to a nice lead before toeing the rubber for the first time, Mudcats starting pitcher Parker Kirkpatrick couldn’t capitalize on the support.
He quickly let the Outlaws on the scoreboard, but did manage to also set the missed-opportunities tone the home club was plagued by all game.
A home run by Joplin’s Dalton Weaver on the first pitch of the bottom of the second inning drew the hosts within 3-2, but, for a second-straight time, they stranded two as Chillicothe stayed ahead.
A 2-runs double off the left-center field fence by Bacho plated his “B” brothers – Blasinski and Bisenius – in the top of the third to restore the original 3-runs lead and Josh Urps’ groundout to short drove Bacho in for a 6-2 advantage.
Kirkpatrick left three Outlaws on base in the third to get his first scoreless frame, but the fourth saw Joplin connect for four hits and three runs to get right back within one.
Kenny Jarema’s 2-outs, bases-full single off the body of Joplin starting and losing pitcher Tyler McGrew inched the visitors to a 7-5 edge.
As it turned out, the Outlaws had spent their last bullet, thanks to Maly (2-0).
Already owning one non=league win in middle relief, the righthanded hurler from Channahon, Ill., was summoned by Durling after Kirkpatrick, already tagged for nine hits and four walks in four innings, hit his second man of the contest with one out in the fifth.
“T-Mal” walked the first batter he faced, bringing up the No. 3 spot in the Joplin lineup. In perhaps the game’s pivotal moment, the Chillicothe reliever got Matt DeLaVega to bounce the ball to shortstop Iglesias near second base and the infielder turned it into an inning-ending double play.
Maly allowed only one hit over the next two innings before completing a shutout stint of 3-2/3 innings by getting a strikeout to leave the bases full of Outlaws in the eighth.
Chillicothe’s offense had eased the stress on Maly a bit right after he got out of the fifth undamaged.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Anthony Lantigua was hit by a pitch. Following a passed ball, Blasinski’s second hit of the evening was a run-scoring double. Bisenius matched that with a shot off the wall in right-center, making it 9-5.
With the 4-runs margin, it was not a save situation when Chillicothe’s third pitcher of the game, Jerald Johnston, entered to begin the ninth inning.
In keeping with its game-long trend, Joplin put men aboard against the sidewheeling righthander – first on an error and then with an infield hit to the left side, but saw they die on base as Johnston got the last out on a deep shot to right field that Tanner Baker tracked down.
Statistically, while Chillicothe again posted a large number of runs – its 10th time in 14 games (including the suspended one) in which it has plated at least five and its eighth occasion of seven or more, the dominant number of the night was Joplin’s 18 left on base.
The Outlaws had at least one man stranded in every inning of the 3:03 game and left the sacks stuffed in both the third and eighth.
Maly’s fifth outing was, by far, his best as he entered Friday’s game with a 7.50 earned run average. He cut it to under 5.00.
The batting headliner was Bacho and the rest of the heart of the Mudcats’ lineup.
Led by the catcher’s 3-for-4, 3-RBI night, the middle third of the order combined for eight hits and six of the nine runs driven in. Designated hitter Bisenius also had three hits and Blasinski two plus two RBI.
Iglesias also had two hits, along with his 10th stolen base in 11 tries.
The Fish swatted four doubles Friday, raising their season total for extra-base hits to 31 in 12 games.
That’s a far-heftier pace than any Chillicothe team since 2012, when it finished with 116 in a team-record 54 games. The past three years, the Mudcats’ extra-bases hits totals have been (in reverse chronological order) 80, 76, and 71.