It was a battle between two division leaders Friday night at Dey Field at Liberty Park, and the MINK League South Division leading Bombers took down the North Division leading St. Joseph Mustangs 10-3.
“I think seeing harder pitching helped us a little bit more,” Matt Jones said.
The Bombers got their 10 runs on 12 hits. Same Perez commanded the mound, striking out eight and walking none in seven innings.
Both starting pitchers only faced three batters in the first inning. For the Bombers, Perez got a strikeout to open up the game, but allowed a single to Ryan Abernathy. After a pop out to third, Perez picked off Abernathy at first before throwing a pitch to cleanup hitter Joe Koerper.
Jeremiah Figueroa retired Jerrod Perry, Trey Hair and Hunter Leeper on a strikeout, ground out and a fly out, respectively.
Perez gave up his second single of the game to Koerper to start the second inning, but he got a strikeout and two flyouts to end the top half of the inning.
The Bombers struck first with a run in the second inning. Tony Sandifer grounded out to the shortstop, but it drove in Jones from third. Jones led off the inning with a double to deep center field that Abernathy attepmted to catch by diving to his left.
After Jonathan Ramon walked, Alex Bee advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher.
The Mustangs tied it up in the third on Sherburne’s fly ball single to right field, but the Bombers got to Figueroa for four runs before Grant Gavin came to the mound with two on and one out.
Perry led off the third inning with a single to left and later scored on Jones’ single to left-center field. Ramon then doubled to the left-center field wall to bring in Hair and Jones to make it 4-1 Bombers.
Bee doubled over the right fielder’s head to bring in Ramon. Figueroa then hit Sandifer with a pitch.
It forced the Mustangs to go grab Gavin out of the bullpen with runners on first and second and one out.
During Jordan Dey’s at-bat, Bee stole third, which would prove useful. Dey would fly out to center for a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1 Bombers.
Gavin would get out of the inning by allowing a single to Shain Showers and forcing Perry to pop out in foul territory.
Perez continued to control things on the mound in the fourth. He struck out two swinging and forced a pop out tothe shortstop. The only Mustang to reach base was Brandon Huske, who got on first base after Showers’ error ar second.
The Bombers got two runners on in the fourth, but Bee grounded out to first base to strand the runners.
The Mustangs used an error, a double and a single to get withing three runs in the top of the fifth inning. After a pop out to first base, Eric Wilcoxson ended up on second base after Hair’s throw to first was wide.
Abernathy would turn that error into a run with a double over Leeper’s head in left field.
Abernathy would score on a Mike Sherburne single that was lined over Hair’s head at shortstop. Perez would get Koerper hit a grounder to Sandifer at third to start a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning with a 6-3 Bombers lead.
The Bombers would answer in a big way in the bottom of the fifth with three runs. Sandifer reached on an error, Dey walked and Showers put down a perfect bunt down the third-base line to get an infield single.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Gavin struck out Perry, but Hair drove in Sandifer with a sac fly. A balk would send the runnners to second and third, which Leeper took advantage of with a double off the center field wall to bring Dey and Showers across the plate to make it 9-3 bombers.
Blake Kolons came in for relief and got defensive help from Zac Johnson, who dove to his left to catch Jones’ screaming line drive to end the inning.
The Bombers got more defense in the sixth inning with their second 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Perez found his groove with his off-speed pitches in the seventh inning and struck out the side swinging.
“We kind of had to feel them around a little bit,” Perez said. “Once we started figuring stuff out, other than the three runs, we had a really good idea of how they hit.”
Dalton Christian struck out four of the six batters he faced to close out the game and give the Bombers a 9-2 reccord.
The Bombers will host the Ozark Generals at 7 p.m. Saturday.