Fall at MINK League baseball South leader Nevada (Mo.) 8-4 June 29 after issuing six walks, hitting five batters, throwing five wild pitches, allowing seven steals, and making two errors
NEVADA, Mo. — With a chance – in their first outing after the brief MINK League All-Star Game interlude – to move within a game of a league playoffs berth, for what that is worth – which is extremely little – at this mid-point of the 2018 season, the Chillicothe Mudcats college-level, wood-bat baseball team was generous to a fault Friday night in a n 8-4 loss to the host Nevada Griffons.
Although Chillicothe was out-hit only 9-7 and had a solo home run, two runs scored, and two runs batted in from right fielder Jack Cavanaugh (Brookfield, Ill./Joliet, Ill., CC), Nevada’s offense was supplemented by receiving six bases on balls, having five men hit by pitches, advancing on five wild pitches, and stealing seven bases in eight attempts. The Mudcats (10-14, 9-13 league) also made two errors.
Chillicothe starting and losing pitcher Trae Brownell, one of two Mudcats hurlers chosen for this past Wednesday’s MINK League All-Star Game, dropped to 1-4 on the summer. The former North Central Missouri College hurler, who threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts in the All-Star Game, needed 105 pitches to get through four innings Friday. He allowed four runs – all earned – on five hits and five walks.
The same teams will meet at Nevada again Saturday and Sunday nights at 7 p.m. before Chillicothe returns home to host the Ozark Generals in a 6:05 p.m. doubleheader Monday.
Each time the Mudcats scored during Friday’s first eight innings, Nevada (11-9, 11-9 MINK), which has climbed into first place in the league’s South Division with a now-5-games winning streak, either exceeded or equaled Chillicothe’s output in its bottom half of the inning, usually with assistance from either the Mudcats’ pitchers or defense or both.
The host Griffons answered Chillicothe’s single run, generated by a leadoff walk to speedy Peyton Cormane, his 23rd stolen base of the season, and fellow All-Star Andrew Williams’ pop-fly double down the right-field line, with two tallies in the bottom half of the first inning.
After the visiting Fish squared things at 2-2 in the fourth on Cavanaugh’s circuit clout over the chummy Lyons Field left-center field fence, Nevada doubled its total for a 4-2 advantage that Chillicothe never overcame.
On another walk to Cormane, a wild pitch, his 24th steal, and Cavanaugh’s fly ball to center, the Mudcats manufactured another run in the top of the sixth to inch within 4-3, but saw Nevada regain its 2-runs margin in the home half.
Finally, a pair of Griffons runs in the bottom of the seventh expanded their daylight to 7-3 and a home run in the bottom of the eighth made the margin five.
That helped the home team in the ninth when the first three Mudcats reached safely – Cavanaugh singled leading off and eventually scored a second time, but still did not have the potential tying run at the plate. It never got there as the next three Chillicothe batters were retired and the Mudcats had lost a second-straight time in the first game of the second half of its 42-games league season.
Had Chillicothe prevailed Friday, it would have picked up a full game on the North Division teams it effectively is chasing to get one of the division’s three playoffs berths.
Slump-ridden St. Joseph, down to third in the division, was whacked by division leader Sedalia by the 10-runs-lead rule – 16-6 in eight innings – at Sedalia and second-place Clarinda, Iowa, was similarly dispatched in abbreviated manner at Joplin, clubbed 12-0 in seven.
A Mudcats victory Friday would have left it with one less league loss than St. Joseph, but also three fewer wins and thus still a game back of the Mustangs. It also would have brought Chillicothe within 1-1/2 games of Clarinda. Instead, the A’s stayed 2-1/2 ahead of the Fish, who still trail St. Joseph by two.
Sedalia now leads Clarinda by 3-1/2 games.