MINK League baseball: Travelers open tourney with win

June 22, 2013

A complete game four-hitter from Dalton Christian and a three-run fourth inning lifted the Sedalia Travelers senior Legion team to a 3-2 win over Quincy (Ill.) in the opening round of the Sedalia-Warrensburg Tournament on Friday at Dey Field at Liberty Park Stadium.

Christian took a no-hitter into the fifth and allowed single runs in the fifth and sixth.

“I was just trying to locate my pitches, throw strikes,” Christian said. “I think I did that for the most part early in the game, got ground-balls, got fly-outs. Just got outs all over the place.”

Christian’s defense helped him out in the first inning as A.J. Paul, Henry Tietz and Cody Kozak turned a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Paul made a diving stop on a grounder a couple innings later for a 5-3 put out. In the seventh,  it was center fielder Darion Lawrence charging in on a line drive to make a catch and keep the potential tying run on second.

“They were just on it,” Christian said. “It really helped my pitch count too. Usually I throw a lot of pitches and that double play really helped me out in the first to get rolling.”

Christian also struck out six in the game.

“He only had one walk all night and that’s typically unlike him,” said Travelers manager Mark Carey. “For him to compete in the zone and find the slider in the zone was huge.”

The Travelers got all the offense they needed in the fourth. Zach Bishop led off with a double over the center fielder’s head and Dalton Christian followed with an RBI single that took a big hop over the shortstop.

“I got that lucky hop over the shortstop and was able to drive him home,” Christian said.

Christian then scored when Chance McMullin hit a single to right. Luke Archibeque made it 3-0 with a single to drive home Kozak.

“That pitcher was just locating it on the outside and I ended up taking it the opposite way over the first baseman’s head,” Archibeque said.

The Travelers got runners on in the second and third innings but could not score. Christian had a one-out double in the second.

“I was seeing his pitches real well so I was able to go with the pitch and send it to right-center,” Christian said.

He made it to third, but a grounder ended the inning. In the third inning, McMullin led off with a double and went to third on a grounder by Archibeque, but a pop-up on the infield and a ground ball ended the inning.

“It all comes down to approach,” Carey said. “We had a guy on second to start the inning and we get him over, how the game’s supposed to be played, and then we swing at the first pitch and pop it up. Our approaches in the fourth inning really changed to hit the ball flatter and moving the runners over.”

Quincy threatened in the top of the fourth but could not score. Leadoff hitter Dom Miles reached second on an error and got to third on a sacrifice bunt before a fly out to Lawrence in center, too shallow to score the run, and strike out ended the inning.

Quincy broke through in the fifth when a bloop single by Andrew Hugenberg dropped in, scoring Andrew Eilers. Quincy cut the Sedalia lead to 3-2 in the sixth when Miles scored on a fielder’s choice.

Quincy had the tying run in scoring position in the top of the seventh. Eilers led off with an infield single and went to second on a bunt before Lawrence snagged a line drive for the second out. Pinch hitter Kaleb Bradshaw nearly brought in the run with a shot down the left field line, but in dropped in foul territory and Christian struck out Bradshaw a few pitches later to end the game.

“(Quincy) is an outstanding ballclub,” Carey said. “They always bring a competitive team down here. That’s a young team and they were very competitive.”

The Travelers will complete a suspended game against Hi-Boy at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Liberty Park. That game was suspended in the bottom of the eighth inning with two one and one out with Hi-Boy batting.

The Travelers will then continue the Sedalia-Warrensburg Tournament against Hi-Boy at 10:30 a.m.