The Juniors had the tying run on first in the bottom of the seventh and could not push it across the plate in an 11-8 loss Sunday to Post 340 in the Sedalia Memorial Day Tournament at Dey Field at Liberty Park.
Down 11-7 heading into the inning, Gavin Jones beat out an infield single with one out and Landon Dove followed with a single up the middle to score Jones. Walks to Derrick Bivins and Corbin Mertgen loaded the bases, but Mason Sanders was called out on a close play at first to end the game.
“We had guys at the plate we had confidence in, that’s why they were there,” said Juniors manager Jeff Mays. “Mason had hit the ball well all day. Close play at first just didn’t go our way. That’s baseball.”
Post 340 jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the top of the first, but the Juniors answered, scoring four in the bottom of the first and adding another in the second.
Baxter Mays and Luke Rincker opened the first inning rally with back-to-back singles and Jones looped a double over the head of the Post 340 leftfielder to drive in both runs. Jones later scored on a wild pitch and Jake Kindle doubled home Tristan Jackson to cap off the inning.
In the second, courtesy runner Blake Grupe scored on an error.
“We hit the ball and were aggressive early,” Mays said. “We’re trying to figure out where everybody belongs. We’re trying to figure out who can throw and who can’t throw and who we’ve got on the mound and we gave up 11 walks and two hit batters. Being within three runs at the end of the game, we’re pretty lucky anyway.”
For Rincker, the day saw him go 2 for 4 with a single and a double and even when he didn’t reach base, he hit the ball well. He scored two runs.
“Luke does a good job,” Mays said. “He can hit it. We’re working hard on his defensive skills behind the plate but he’s got a nice swing. He’s just a good hitter with some power.”
Four different pitchers took the mound for Sedalia in the loss Sunday. Connor Spunaugle started but lasted 2 1-3 innings. Post 340 hitters combined for 11 hits in the game.
“I thought we hit the ball well at times and we were good at the plate, we just didn’t get a lot on the mound,” Mays said. “That happens. That’s baseball. We’ve still got confidence in Connor who started the game, he just couldn’t find the strike zone.”
Sedalia pitchers were able to get out of a few jams. In the second inning, Post 340 had two on and one out before Spunaugle picked off the lead runner, then induced a flyball to center to end the inning.
Post 340 scored six runs in the third, driving Spunaugle from the mound and had the bases loaded with two out in the fourth before Kindle, on in relief, induced a grounder to third to end the threat. After scoring a run in the fifth, Post 340 again loaded the bases before a ground ball ended the inning. They then loaded the bases with one out in the sixth before Chase Hagel came on in relief, getting a strike out and a pop up to short to end the inning.
As they did in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Post 21, the hitting came from the top to the bottom of the lineup for the Juniors. In the No. 7 spot, Kindle had an RBI double. Hitting eighth, Sanders singled to lead off the fourth and a line drive in the sixth was only an out because it was hit directly to Post 340 second baseman Keagan Wilson.
“Everybody’s been contributing,” Mays said.
The Juniors (1-2) will face Chillicothe at 9 a.m. today at Liberty Park to close out the Memorial Day Tournament.