The Sedalia Bombers remained unbeaten after back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the ninth lifted them to a 10-9 win over Omaha on Tuesday at Dey Field at Liberty Park.
Aaron Meyer started the rally with a double off the wall in right. Hunter Leeper followed him to the plate, sneaking a ball past a diving Omaha leftfielder, allowing Meyer to score the winning run.
“He threw me a curveball that was kind of inside,” Leeper said. “It wasn’t a great hit, but it found a hole. Luck’s a little bit about it.”
Leeper went 5 for 5 in the game with two doubles and three singles. He also walked once. Three times in the game he came to the plate with two out in the inning and reached base, including the first inning when his single sparked a five-run, two-out rally.
“We’re all competitive and we all battle,” he said. “You just never know, we just keep on hitting, keep on playing.”
Both teams struggled to hold onto leads in the game. The Bombers answered a two-run top of the first with five in the bottom of the inning, eventually adding a sixth. The Diamond Spirit answered back, tying the game with a four-run fourth inning before taking a 9-6 lead with three in the fifth.
Sedalia scored two in the sixth when Riley Brant scored on a passed ball and Leeper scored from third on a ground-out. They tied the game in the seventh as Leeper had a ball drop in between several Omaha players in shallow center, scoring Kyle Reid.
“We just had that momentum,” said third-baseman Jonathan Ramon. “It starts in the cage, it starts before the game. Everyone trusts in themselves and know they don’t have to do too much right now because our lineup is hitting well.”
“This lineup’s very talented,” Leeper said. “We all have confidence in each other. We all know we can get hits at certain times when we need them.”
Trailing 6-2 after three, Omaha scored four in the fourth and three more in the fifth to re-claim the lead.
The Bombers spotted Omaha an early lead in the top of the first. Quinton Urban scored from third when Harrison Crawford hit a grounder deep into the hole at shortstop which he beat out for an infield single. Crawford then stole second and scored on a sharp single up the middle by Jordyn Van Atta. The Diamond Spirit had runners on first and second with one out when Garrett Mills grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The Bombers errased the deficit with a five-run, two-out rally in the first. After a groundout and a pop-out to begin the inning, Leeper started the rally with a solid single to right. Matt Jones was hit by a pitch and Shain Showers followed with a single up the middle to score Leeper. Jess Cartner followed with a single to right to score Jones. Ramon then singled to right and an throwing error on the rightfielder allowed two more runs to score.
“I was just ready to jump on the first pitch,” Ramon said. “I knew we had momentum, I knew he was going to try to pound the zone, so I was just sitting on the pitch and hit it the other way.”
Ramon scored the fifth run of the inning on a single by Kyle Reid.
The Bombers looked to add to the lead with another two-out rally in the second. Jones laced a double into the corner in left which nearly scored Leeper from first, but Omaha got Leeper at the plate with a 7-5-2 put out to end the inning.
Sedalia added another run in the third when Showers scored on a ground out to make it 6-2.
“We just have a good-hitting ball team,” said manager Jud Kindle. “We’re consistent one through nine, able to drive the ball. We’ve got a lot of guys who are going to put balls in play. We’re a little hot right now with the bats.”
Bombers starter Julian Langford lasted just two batters into the second inning, one reached on an error and the other walked, before Kindle went to the bullpen, bringing in reliever Tony Forcelledo.
Forcelledo, a lefty from Northwest Missouri State, got out of the jam in the second by retiring the first three batters he faced, getting help from second baseman Riley Brant’s grab of a line drive.
A lead-off single in the third was followed by a 6-4-3 double play and Omaha came away from that inning with no runs.
The Diamond Spirit finally got to Forcelledo in the fourth, scoring four runs in an inning which twice saw errors on potential double play balls. Reese Taylor came on to relieve Forcelledo and walked the first batter he faced to force home the tying run before Brant turned a 4-3 double play to end the inning.
Taylor faced four batters, giving way to Dan Chambliss after walking the first two batters in the fifth. Both of those runs scored, as did a third, and the Diamond Spirit took a 9-6 lead.
Chambliss worked a flawless sixth and got around a lead-off walk in the seventh before giving way to Zac Anstine who pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings, striking out four.
“Obviously you don’t want to go to your bullpen until the sixth,” Kindle said. “It extended them out a little bit. Anstine had to go an extra inning. We had to reach back and pitch Reese on short rest. All in all, our bullpen did a pretty good job of keeping us in the ballgame.”
The Bombers (4-0) will visit Branson on Thursday.