Twice leading the host Ozark Generals by a couple of runs in the June 8, 2018, MINK League game, Mudcats wind up gonig 10 and losing on walkoff single
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Less than 24 hours after emerging victorious from a 14-innings game which lasted more than 4-1/2 hours, the Chillicothe Mudcats tried to make “free baseball” profitable again Friday, but could not.
Unable to protect a pair of 2-runs leads, the Mudcats were shut out for the last five innings of a 7-6 10-innings, MINK League loss to the Ozark Generals.
A leadoff double by the hosts’ Trent Bauer off third Chillicothe pitcher Hayden House (0-1) set up the walk-off win. After a walk and a forceout at second, lefthander Tristen Sewell was summoned to try to rescue House and the Fish. However, he hit the first batter he faced with the second pitch he threw, then allowed a full-count single to left field to Jared Johnson to end it.
The league loss lowered Chillicothe’s early-season marks to 2-7 overall and 2-6 in the loop. South Division leader Ozark hiked its records to 5-1 overall and in the league.
The Mudcats move on to begin a 3-games, 3-nights series in Joplin, Mo., against the Outlaws Saturday night.
Friday’s contest at Meador Park Stadium in south Springfield found the home club erecting a picket fence in the early innings, scoring one run in each of the first four frames against starting hurler Gabriel Seijas.
That steady output was offset by the visitors from Chillicothe exploiting a couple of throwing errors to take a 3-1 lead in the second inning and then regaining the lead with a run in the top of the fourth.
Following Ozark’s retying of the game in its fourth, the Fish immediately reclaimed the upper fin with two tallies in the fifth, only to have the Generals pull rank and square the score at 6-6 in the bottom of the sixth.
Neither side scored again until Jackson’s hit won it.
In the Chillicothe second inning, designated hitter Jack Cavanaugh smacked a 1-out double to left and Luke Schwartz followed with a basehit. Both scored when Ozark starting pitcher Derek Kennell threw wildly past first base after fielding Andrew Williams’ grounder and the right fielder then committed a second miscue on the play.
In what ultimately became a critical play, Williams was cut down at the plate on the back end of a double-steal attempt for the second out before catcher and No. 9 batter Cole Johnson delivered a RBI single. Had Williams still been aboard, the hit might have scored two and at least would have made it 3-1 with only one out and men at first and third bases.
After Ozark came back to tie after three innings, Cavanaugh’s leadoff single and Schwartz’s following double to left reclaimed the lead for the Mudcats at 4-3. However, Kennell trapped Schwartz off second and he was tagged out in a rundown to short-circuit the inning before it had a chance to blossom into something more.
Tied again as they came to bat in the fifth, the Fish put a pair of 2-outs runs up to move in front a third time.
After Johnson’s second hit, the next two batters were retired before Cole Taylor’s double made it 5-4. A wild pitch sent Taylor to third, from where, after a walk, a balk let him saunter home with a sixth run.
Mudcats relief pitcher Gabriel Seijas sailed easily through the Ozark fifth, but a 2-outs, 2-run double off Johnson’s bat leveled the score yet again at 6-6.
A throwing error and consecutive, 2-outs infield hits by Derek Hussey and Taylor loaded the sacks with Fish in the top of the ninth. However, pinch-hitter Connor Quick, whose pair of 2-runs singles had helped fuel the previous night’s 14-innings victory, struck out on a 3-2 pitch, stranding three.
After Chillicothe went down in order in the first extra inning, Johnson struck again for the walkoff win for the Generals.
Statistically, the Mudcats’ nine hits included two each by Johnson, Cavanaugh, Tay-lor, and Schwartz. Ozark generated 10 hits, the last making a winner of third reliever Bryce Slavens, who threw only the 10th.