Mid-Missouri team gets complete-game 4-hitter from righthander Taylor Thompson to win MINK League game 5-1
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — One night after seeing the Chillicothe Mudcats light up the scoreboard with 15 runs worth of offensive “fireworks” three days before the Fourth of July holiday, the Jefferson City Renegades used Taylor Thompson’s right “hose” to soak the Fish’s arsenal, turning what they brought to the park Sunday night into duds.
Thompson – a member of the Emporia (Kan.) State University’s diamond program during the school year, according to Doug Doughty, Mudcats general manager – polished off the 2017 Mudcats’ attack with a 5-hits, complete-game gem as the visitors from Missouri’s capitol city salvaged one win from their 4-games weekend stay in Chillicothe, 5-1.
Having been staked to a 1-0 lead by teammate Hunter Swift’s home run over the right field wall on the game’s first pitch, Thompson allowed only an unearned run in the Chillicothe seventh.
The Mudcats’ run shaved the Renegades’ lead to 3-1, but his teammates had his back. They not only matched the Mudcats’ run in their next opportunity, but plated two markers in the top of the eighth to gain a 4-runs advantage the Jefferson City hurler had no trouble protecting.
“We pitched good enough to win, we played defense good enough to win, but we didn’t hit," summarized Jack Winters, Chillicothe head coach. "It’s a 50-game season, so days like this are going to happen.”
Sunday’s outcome snapped Chillicothe’s minor 3-games winning streak and moved them back down to .500 in the MINK League at 12-12. Overall, the Mudcats are 16-12 heading into Monday’s game at league-ledaing St. Joseph.
Righthander Zack Mathes (2-1, 1.11 ERA), who shut out St. Joe on four hits for seven innings at home last Monday before the Mustangs victimized a reliever to win 3-1, will draw the start on the hill for the Fish.
“He’s risen to the occasion and become our ace," Winters states. "We’ve got a fresh Mathes and a fresh Austin Gussman in the bullpen, so those are the two guys we’ll feature.”
Jefferson City, a first-year member of the league, returned to mid-Missouri after Sundays’ game at 13-16 overall and 10-16 in league play, thanks to its first win over the Mudcats in five tries. Both it and Chillicothe hold in third place in their respective divisions of the MINK League after Sunday’s result.
Righthander Thompson largely had Chillicothe’s number from the outset, setting the side down in order in the first inning after Swift had given him the instantaneous lead.
The only inning in which the Fish had more than one hit was the second when Dawsen Bacho and recuperated Anthony Lantigua each had one.
Although Chillicothe starting pitcher Parker Kirkpatrick (1-1) had a very fine outing – three runs on six hits across six innings, that meager allowance was enough for Thompson.
The only ding he endured came in the seventh when his own error – his second of the game – on Tanner Baker’s leadoff bunt led to Kenny Jarema’s 2-outs, run-scoring single to right field.
Following Jefferson City’s counterpunch in the top of the eighth, the Mudcats tried to crack the visitors’ starter softly.
They put two on with one out with a hit batsman and walk, but Bacho bounced the ball back to the hill and Thompson started a 1-6-3 double play to deflate the threat. Chillicothe then went in order in the ninth on three easy ground balls.
Statistically, Jefferson City had a 10-5 advantage in hits with Tyler Cunningham, Cole Evans, Hunter Swift, and Avery Jennnings smacking two hits each.
The game marked the debut of one of three newly-arriving Mudcats – righthanded pitcher Houston Morris. The Fairmont (West Virginia) University righthanded gave up two, 2-outs hits in the top of the ninth, but then stranded those men.
“Looking forward to what he can contribute going forward,” Winters remarked on one of his team's two new pitchers. The other, Jase Dalton, a righthander who also will be used some at first base, will be in uniform for the first time Monday at St. Joseph.
No Chillicohe batter had more than one hit Sunday.