After falling behind 2-0 in top of first inning, defending MINK League summer baseball champion Bombers pound three over Liberty Park Stadium fences Monday (June 17, 2019) in 12-6 triumph
SEDALIA, Mo. — When a sports team faces a league/conference leader or a defending champion, generosity is not a quality that team can afford, if it hopes to prevail over such a quality foe. Neither is a lack of greed.
The 2019 Chillicothe (Mo.) Mudcats, off to one of the strongest starts to a season in their team’s 18-seasons history, were taught that the hard way Monday night (June 17).
Visiting the Sedalia Bombers, 2018 MINK League champions and off to another strong start this summer, the Mudcats defensively gave away free and unearned runs with both hands in the second and fourth frames and offensively failed to exploit good scoring chances in the second and third after being handed a quick 2-0 lead. The predictable result was a 12-6 league triumph by the hosts.
That Sedalia deep-fried the Fish at home is no surprise. The Bombers now own nine home wins in a row over Chillicothe, dating back to the Mudcats’ 2016 season opener when current Chillicothe head coach Caleb Bounds pitched the Fish to a 10-3 triumph.
The early lead for Chillicothe (9-5, 9-5 MINK) vanished in a Christmas-spirit second-inning bonanza of four walks, a hit batsman, three wild pitches, and two passed balls which gifted four runs to Sedalia.
After the Fish failed to do anything with two inning-opening hits in their third, while trailing only 4-2, the Bombers flexed their muscles in their hitter-friendly Liberty Park Stadium home park in the fourth after an inning-opening Chillicothe error.
With relief pitcher Chandler Griggs seemingly having rescued the Mudcats from the sudden, cataclysmic wildness of starter Cristhian Cardona in the second, a fielding error by shortstop Tate Wargo on a routine, artificial-turf roller cracked opened the door and, with a pair of 2-outs blasts, the Bombers (8-2, 8-2) blew the game open.
Following the error, Griggs sandwiched a single with a foul out and forceout to be one out away from a second-straight scoreless inning. He didn’t get it, however.
Instead he loaded the bases with a walk to bring up No. 3 hitter Jake Lufft, who’d been robbed of a 2-outs, 2-runs hit by a diving catch by left fielder Jack Grace to end the second inning.
This time, instead of a sizzling line drive, Lufft lofted a high fly ball up and over the fence in left-center field – only about a 370-foot poke – for a grand slam home run and 8-4 Sedalia lead.
A few pitches later, cleanup man A.J. Gardner followed suit, pounding an even-harder-hit ball over the right-center-field fence to make it a 5-runs inning.
Gardner went on to blast a second solo homer over the left-center-field barrier in the sixth and triple off right-center wall before scoring in the eighth to help keep his team comfortably in front.
Chillicothe tidied up the final score a bit in the last two innings against the third and fourth pitchers Sedalia used.
An outfield error and Kole Ficken’s run-scoring single plated two eighth-inning tallies and, in the ninth, RBI 2-outs hits from Brady Welch and Ficken tacked on two more before a game-ending whiff of newly-arrived infielder Hunter Johnson left the bases full.
Chillicothe returns to home-field action on “Chuck” Haney Field at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park Stadium Tuesday (June 18) when it hosts the Jefferson City Renegades in 7:05 p.m. league play. That is the first of 4-consecutive home games over the next five nights (no game currently is planned for Friday).
Statistically, Chariton countian Cole Young, a sophomore lefthander from Salisbury and the University of Central Missouri, picked up credit for the win as the first Sedalia reliever. Taking over in the fifth with a 9-2 lead, he threw three innings of 1-hit, shutout ball, fanning three and walking none.
Cardona (0-1), who struck out four of the first six batters he faced and then didn’t get another out, remains bedeviled by an inability to consistently find the strike zone. In 11 innings over three appearances – all starts, he has surrendered only nine hits, but has walked 13 with a dozen strikeouts.
Sedalia out-hit the Mudcats 10-8, paced by the three “big flies.” Each side received seven walks, but the Bombers capitalized more on theirs. Each club scored four unearned runs.
The Chillicothe attack, which was without usual cleanup man and power-hitting leader Nolan Metcalf, was led by Logan Eickhoff’s three hits and Ficken’s two hits and two RBI.