Chillicothe prodcut retires nine of 10 Clarinda (Iowa) A's batters he faced, including working out of inherited bases-full, none-out situation to preserve Chillicothe's 6-2 win Saturday (July 21, 2018)
CLARINDA, Iowa — With a mix of shared pitching excellence capped by Chillicothean Tristen Sewell’s sensational save, Peyton Cormane’s derring do on the bases, and a timely hit from Cole Johnson, the Chillicothe Mudcats continued their defiant stand against daunting odds Saturday night (July 21, 2018).
Near mathematical elimination from the MINK League North Division playoffs race all week, the Mudcats college-level, wood-bat baseball team posted its fourth victory in its last five outings with a 6-2 triumph over the playoffs-bound host Clarinda (Iowa) A’s.
Chillicothe now will have to sweat out Sunday, when it has an open date while Clarinda hosts the St. Joseph Mustangs in a doubleheader. A St. Joseph victory in either of those games would clinch at least third place in the North Division for the Mustangs and eliminate the Mudcats from playoffs potential.
If Clarinda sweeps the twinbill, it would both clinch second place for the Iowans and keep the Mudcats breathing going into a Monday night 7 o’clock game at Sedalia.
For a second-consecutive night, Sewell came on to throw three innings of relief to save the triumph. In contrast to Friday’s effort, which came in a blowout win at St. Joseph, Saturday’s performance featured spectacular work with the game in the balance.
After the Mudcats had snapped a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the sixth inning, Clarinda nicked third Chillicothe hurler Hayden House for a run in the bottom half and then filled the bases with none out against the oft-used righthander with none out in the seventh.
Notwithstanding his extended stint only 24 hours before, following a week-long absence from the hill despite no health issue, the hometown lefthander answered head coach Caleb Bounds’ summons sharp and ready for the challenge.
Sewell got a popup for the first out, then a called strikeout, before stranding all three inherited runners with another infield pop fly, preserving the 4-2 lead.
After he set the A’s down 1-2-3 in the eighth and his teammates posted a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth – the last on Cormane’s third stolen base of the night and 37th of the season on a dash home from third on the catcher’s return toss to the pitcher, Sewell completed his second save with another hitless inning that kept the Fish breathing.
The Mudcats’ fourth hurler of the game, the lefty set down nine of the 10 batters he faced, surrendering only a hit batsman. He now is tied with House for the team lead in saves with two.
Earlier in the game, Chillicothe fill-in starting pitcher Ryann Gray stepped up with three innings of 1-run ball that lefthander Noah McClanahan followed with two shutout innings.
Cormane’s speed and fearlessness on the basepaths led to the Mudcats scoring in the opening inning.
He accepted a leadoff base on balls, then stole both second and third bases. That allowed him to score on Nico Burgarello’s single to left field.
Clarinda, desirous of victory itself as it tries to tie down second place in the North in a close race with St. Joseph, slightly dented Gray in the third. A walk, a passed ball, and 1-out single knotted the game at 1-1, but the Alabama righthander cut the A’s off there.
McClanahan (2-1) ended up getting the win – his second in four days after starting Wednesday’s home win over Jefferson City – when the Mudcats struck for three runs in the top of the sixth.
Nate Gawelko coaxed a leadoff walk of his own in the sixth and Andrew Williams and Nick Ray followed with singles that left the sacks jammed against rapidly-fading A’s starting pitcher Travis Lavendier.
With the bases loaded, Luke Schwartz was hit by Lavendier’s last pitch, giving Chillicothe the lead for good.
Clarinda relief pitcher Tim Wieser induced a potential rally-squelching 1-2-3 double play from the first batter he face, but Johnson followed with a 2-runs single to expand the Mudcats’ lead 4-1.
Statistically, Saturday’s game in Iowa generated only nine total hits – a mere three by the A’s off the quartet of Chillicothe hurlers. Johnson was the only player with more than one, going two for three with the two critical runs batted in. Gawelko earned his way on base in four of his five plate appearances, going one for two with three walks.
House and Sewell not only share the team lead in saves now, but have been the team’s two most-often-used pitchers. House, who’s been in three of the team’s last four games and four of the past six, has been called on 16 times, one more than Sewell.
With his two recent wins, McClanahan joins four other Mudcats in sharing the team lead in wins with two.