Fine relief stints by Sewell, Cavanaugh, winner Trickel, big hitting games by Taylor, Quick mark 10-8 triumph in opener against Ozark. After winning second-longest game in team history, in terms of innings played, Fish fall 4-1 in finale
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The 2018 Chillicothe (Mo.) Mudcats college-level, wood-bat baseball team prevailed Thursday night (June 7) in the second-longest game, in terms of innings played, in their organization’s 17-years history, but could not follow up with a sweep-completing second contest that lasted less than half as long as their win.
After letting chances to win in the regulation seven innings or in 10 get away, the Mudcats scored three times in the top of the 14th inning of the opener of their MINK League doubleheader with the Ozark Generals to prevail at last, 10-8, after a 4:20 battle.
After a half-hour break, the two squads needed only another 1:36 to complete a 7-innings second game, which the host Generals claimed 4-1, despite a 3-for-3 batting performance by Chillicothean Derek Hussey and fine pitching by Tanner Marshall.
Chillicothe’s triumph in the marathon opener – exceeded in length, in team history, only by a 4-1 15-innings victory over the Colorado Sox in a first-round game in the 2009 National Baseball Congress World Series at Wichita, Kan. – halted a 3-games losing streak for the 2018 squad. The game two defeat left the Fish owning a 2-6 overall mark and 2-5 league mark heading into Friday’s slated 7 p.m. finale of the teams’ 3-games set at Meador Park stadium in Springfield.
South Division-leading Ozark, which started Thursday undefeated on the summer, concluded play just before 12:30 a.m. Friday with a 4-1 record overall and in the league.
The first game of the twinbill began at 6 p.m. Thursday, but didn’t have its final pitch until 11:20 p.m. Although once trailing 4-0, Chillicothe made the long effort pay off.
The decisive rally in the top of the 14th inning began ominously for the home team when it walked Mudcats No. 9 batter Peyton Cormane to start the frame.
After he advanced on a groundout to second, he stole third base on the next pitch, drawing an errant throw from the catcher in the process that allowed him to score without a play.
Although the bases now were empty, the Mudcats wisely pursued more scoring against Ozark’s fourth hurler, Hayden Harrell, who had just entered at the start of the inning.
Dalton Robison stroked a hit to left after Cormane scored and, after he also moved to second on a groundout, cleanup batter Cole Taylor’s third hit of the game was a run-scoring single to left, his third RBI of the contest making it 9-7, Mudcats.
Taylor then swiped second, from where he scored for a fourth time in the game on Nick Ray’s double down the left-field line.
In the bottom half, winning pitcher Derrek Trickel (1-0) issued a leadoff walk and a 2-outs triple when left fielder Ray missed on a diving attempt at a game-ending catch. That put the potential tying run in the batter’s box, but the righthander from Hallsville – a senior-to-be at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he plays club, not intercollegiate, baseball – struck out a pinch-hitter to wrap up the win.
Trickel – playing with the Mudcats this summer while living with relatives in the Jamesport-Trenton area, according to team general manager Doug Doughty – ended up going the last four innings, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts.
Chillicothean Tristen Sewell had been in position to gain credit for a relief win after, following his hitless, shutout relief in the eighth and ninth frames of the scheduled 7-innings contest, his teammates posted two runs in the top of the 10th.
However, two walks – the second on a second full-count offering – and a would-be sacrifice bunt that went for a hit loaded the bases and a sharp hit to left-center cut the lead to 7-6.
Head coach Caleb Bounds summoned Jack Cavanaugh with the bases loaded, no outs, and the tying run at third and winning run at second and he managed to keep Ozark from winning the game then.
After a popup, a tap up the middle produced only an out at first as the tying run scored before a strikeout sent the contest on to the 11th.
Ozark, which had led 4-0 after three innings, invited Chillicothe back into the game with an inning-opening error in the fourth. The Mudcats turned that misplay into three unearned runs, two of which scored on a Connor Quick single.
The Fish then edged in front in the sixth when Quick again delivered a 2-runs single following inning-starting walks to Taylor and Nate Gawelko.
Chillicothe then returned the gift in the bottom of the seventh, committing a 1-out error that led to a game-knotting hit two batters later.
Statististically in Chillicothe’s game 1 win over Ozark Thursday, Quick’s four runs batted in, Taylor’s three hits, three runs batted in, and four runs scored, and the relief work of Sewell, Cavanaugh and Trickell shared the spotlight for the Mudcats, who were out-hit 17-11.
Not surprisingly, with both sides physically and emotionally wrung out by the lengthy opener, the second game zipped along with little hitting and few baserunners.
Chillicothe’s Marshall and Ozark’s Spencer Ard matched zeroes through the first half of the rescheduled 7-innings finale (under new MINK League procedures this year, second games of doubleheaders will be nine innings, unless the 7-innings first game goes into extra innings, as Thursday’s did).
In the home fourth, three singles and a throwing error combined to put two Generals runs on the scoreboard.
Chillicothe had a chance to get one of them back in its fifth when Hussey’s 2-outs bunt single was followed by a wild pickoff throw by the Ozark catcher, moving the Mudcats right fielder to third. A popup left him there.
The Fish did get a run in their sixth on consecutive 1-out doubles by Nico Burgarello and Robison, but a fly out and groundout left the tying run in scoring position.
When the Generals picked up a 2-outs, 2-runs single in their sixth to make it 4-1, the Mudcats’ chances dimmed considerably. Thanks to a leadoff walk and Hussey’s third single, they did get two batters to the plate in the top of the seventh representing the potential tying run, but Ard proved too hard to solve. A strikeout and a fly ball to right ended play for the night at 12:29 a.m. with both teams having tasted victory once.
Statistically in the second game, Hussey’s output and Robison’s two hits accounted for all except one of Chillicothe’s hits off Ard. Marshall, having his best outing in three appearances, also held the Generals to six hits, but yielded the four runs – three earned.