Peak Prospects Blitz Brit Janson for Five Runs in Eighth, Overtake Chillicothe (Mo.) Mudcats 11-8 Monday
Chillicothe sees 4-0 lead after an inning fail to stand up as bullpen sags for second night in row
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Hopefully Chillicothe Mudcats pitcher Myles Janson has one of those legendary “stiff upper lips” the British are portrayed as always encouraging.
The 6’6”, 240-pounds righthanded hurler hailing from Leicester, England, saw two 2-outs ground balls toward third base result in infield hits that proved to be the blasting caps for a 5-runs eighth inning by the visiting Des Moines (Iowa) Peak Prospects which turned a 6-4 Chillicothe lead only four outs away from victory into an eventual 11-8 Mudcats defeat Monday (June 7).
With a Peak Prospect at second base and two outs after spearing a sizzling liner right back to himself, Janson saw a weak grounder right down the third-base line deflect off the glove of his team’s third sacker, Lucas Loos, who was trying to make a difficult, do-or-die play on it.
After that batter who reached stole second base to put the potential tying run in scoring position, the Mudcats’ third reliever of the contest got the next batter to swing over the top of a pitch, as well. This time, however, the contact was strong enough that the ball took a kangaroo hop well over Loos’ head for another infield hit as the shortstop tracked it down just on the outfield grass behind Loos to prevent the runner from second from scoring to tie it up.
That proved to be merely a momentary reprieve, however.
After the owner of the high chopped stole second base uncontested, Peak Prospects cleanup batter Anthony Toureallus shot his third hit of the game over the head of the Mudcats’ right fielder for a lead-grabbing 2-runs double.
After a walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases, a sharply-hit ground ball off the bat of Pat Norton zipped into left field between the Mudcats’ third baseman and shortstop to plate two more runs, boosting the Iowans’ lead to 9-6.
Following a 5-3 double play that ended Chillicothe’s fruitless eighth inning that began with the first two men reaching, a double, four walks, and multiple stolen bases and wild pitches resulted in the Des Moines-based club to expand its lead from three to five in the ninth.
That proved notable when the Mudcats combined a walk, a beaning, and two 2-outs singles into a pair of runs off Peak Prospects winning reliever Jacob Merithew in their ninth.
After Merithew was replaced by another righthander, Cooper Johnson, another free pass put the potential winning run in the batter’s box, but Johnson got the save with a strikeout on a 1-2 pitch.
The Peak Prospects, in their first year playing as a MINK League member, registered their first victory in five attempts in 2021. The Mudcats, a 2-games winning “streak” quickly terminated, slipped to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in the MINK League entering Wednesday’s clash with Sedalia at Trenton.
Monday’s home contest saw the Fish have another highly-productive first inning.
After posting a 3-spot to start their game at Nevada 24 hours earlier, the Mudcats raked Peak Prospects starting lefthander Colin Lacey for three hits and four runs Monday.
After the first two batters were retired, Loos followed a walk to Josh Swinehart with long double to deep left-center field to make it 1-0. Zack Cox then walked ahead of Max Huntley’s RBI single to right. After Huntley stole second base, Blake Falor cashed in on that theft with another opposite-field single to right, bringing two runs scampering home.
That quick lead stood up until the top of the fourth when the Prospects used three singles to plate one run before a 6-4-3 twin-killing doused the threat of more damage against Mudcats starting righty Mitch Alba.
The visitors dinged the Fish starter for three hits and two runs in the top of the fifth with Toureallus’ single making it 4-3.
That drew an equal response from the home team in its half, but the fact that it easily could have doubled what the Iowa team had posted foreshadowed Chillicothe’s later heartbreak.
Braedyn Brewer led off the Mudcats’ fifth with a single and eventually score on a wild throw to third on his steal of that bag. On that same play, Greyson Barrett, who had walked, ended up at third base.
A couple of pitches later, a pitch in the dirt bounced about 20 feet away from the plate to the first-base side. After hesitating for a count or two, Barrett tried to score and was easily retired by the catcher’s flip to the pitcher at the plate.
Swinehart then finished waiting out a walk and dashed all the way home when Loos launched a drive to right-center field that 1-hopped the distant wall. Loos was almost to third base when the ball was being caught by the Peak Prospects second baseman in short right-center field. When Mudcats head coach Tyler Hudlow, coaching third, saw the infielder blindly turn and launch a far-too-late throw toward third, he had Loos keep running, rounding third and trying to score.
Alertly, the DMPP third baseman took several steps forward to meet the throw, then turned and whipped an on-target throw to his team’s catcher to easily cut down Loos.
Instead of having three runs home in the inning and Loos at third with none out in an 8-3 game with a chance for much more, the bases were empty, two men were out with only two extra runs on the Chillicothe side of the “Chuck” Haney Field scoreboard.
The 6-3 margin shrunk a bit when the Iowa team nicked second Mudcats reliever Cole Mammenga for an unearned run in the seventh after the first two batters were set down. A walk, one of the Peak Prospects’ eight stolen bases, and a throwing error on a ground ball first baseman Barrett unwisely pursued far to his right. Without Barrett going to cover his bag, second sacker Cox was forced to try to hit Mammenga on the run at first and, not surprisingly, they missed connections as Toureallus rounded third and scored without a play with the ball banging against the front of the Peak Prospects’ dugout.
Beginning with that gift marker, the Des Moines team would score eight times in the last three innings to snag its initial win, hanging the loss on Janson (0-1) in his second appearance of the season.
Statistically, Merithew’s 3-2/3 innings of scoreless relief until Swinehart’s and Loos’ 2-outs run-scoring hits in the ninth were the game’s most-important numbers.
Offensively for the Fish, Loos – the only Mudcat to bat at Nevada and not hit safely the night before, went three for five with three runs driven in. Swinehart was two for three with two runs scored.
The Peak Prospects got three hits apiece from Toureallus, Norton and Nate Jessell. All told, 12 of the Iowans’ 13 hits came from the Nos. 2-6 spots in their order.