Visiting Bombers' five unearned runs tipped outcome of MINK League game Saturday night
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Returning to action following an unusual 5-days break from gamss that count, the Chillicoithe Mudcats played like a team off its routine Saturday night.
In their first action after the club served as host for the 2017 MINK League All-Star Game two days prior, the Mudcats scored only two runs, committed four errors, and allowed five unearned runs to the Sedalia Bombers in an 8-2 loss at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park stadium.
The Bombers broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of 2-outs, run-scoring hits in the sixth inning, then made the hosts pay for a fielding error on a leadoff grounder in the seventh to the tune of five more 2-outs runs.
The contest’s key blows were Raul Elguezabal’s RBI double just inside the third-base bag in the sixth that scored Matthew Jones from first with the go-ahead run, and Kenny Piper’s bases-full triple to deep right-center field in the seventh that turned a 4-1 contest into a 7-1 game Chillicothe never got back into.
Allowing only one run in 5-plus innings before being bailed out of a 2-on, none-out jam in the sixth by Jordan Lawrence, was Sedalia starting and winning pitcher Tyler Quick. Tagged with the loss was Chillicothe starter Chris Peres (0-2), despite allowing a reasonably-minimual three runs in 5-2/3 innings.
After recently-added Houston Morris bailed Peres out in the sixth, stranding the bases loaded to keep the gap at 3-1, the reliever from Bridgeport, W. Va., did not get a similar rescue in the seventh.
With the bases full after an inning-opening fielding error by second baseman Anthony Lantigua and back-to-back 2-outs walks Morris issued, Nate Wenson walked in the fourth Bombers run of the game, then allowed Piper’s killer triple.
Given the effectiveness of the Sedalia relievers – the latest in a growing line of bullpens that have largely shut down the Mudcats in the late innings recently, the extra runs in the seventh might have been superfluous, but the potential for different strategy in a 3-1 or 4-1 game would have been there.
Chillicothe, whose only run of the first six innings came on one second-inning swing of Lantigua’s bat, when he launched his first home run of the summer over the wall in the left field corner, clipped Bombers bullpenner Lawrence for consecutive singles by Tanner Baker and Cris Cabral and a run in the seventh. However, Lawrence and Louis Niemerg retired eight of the last nine Mudcats batters in the game and got a double play to erase the lone exception in that span.
The Sedalia relievers combined to log four innings of 3-hits, 1-run ball, getting six of their 12 outs via strikeouts – five by Lawrence in his three innings.
Statistically, Sedalia was led by No. 9 hitter Jordan Wright’s 3-for-3 night which also featured two walks, two runs driven in, and a run scored. Cole Gray went four for six from the No. 2 spot and Piper had the three crushing RBI with his lone hit.
Out-hit only 12-10, Chillicothe had 2-for-4 games from Baker and Lantigua.
With the lackluster loss, Chillicothe’s league record dipped to 12-14 and its overall mark slid to 16-14 entering its final non-league outing at home Sunday night against the KC Monarchs.
Thanks to the Ozark Generals’ late comeback which defeated the Clarinda (Iowa) A’s Saturday, the Fish were able to tread water in the league’s North Division standings, at least in relation to holding onto the third and final league playoffs berth.With its road setback, the Iowa team’s record in league play fell to 11-15, keeping it one full game back of Chillicothe. Sedalia’s win allowed it to go two games ahead of the Mudcats at 15-13 prior to its home game against St. Joseph last night.
Sedalia will return to Chillicothe for its final regular-season visit tonight. Chillicothe’s top pitcher to date, righthander Zack Mathes, is the home club’s scheduled starter for the 7:05 p.m. game.
Saturday’s game provided the opportunity for Jase Dalton and Dusty Stroup to make their Mudcats debuts, although neither had a night worth remembering.
Stroup, from St. Joseph’s Missouri Western State University, had a single off the third baseman’s glove in his first at-bat, but later struck out twice and was charged with two of the four Fish errors.
Dalton, expected to see time as both a pitcher and first baseman, started at first base, but was hitlesss in three trips, also fanning twice. Like Morris, Dalton played in a South Carolina league during June, then were picked up by the Mudcats after that league’s short season ended.
Morris’ appearance was his third in the four games for which he’s been on hand.