The Sedalia Bombers are back in first after holding off a ninth inning rally by Joplin for an 8-6 win Tuesday at Dey Field at Liberty Park.
The Bombers (14-7) had been a half game behind the Outlaws heading into the day but with the win move a half game ahead.
“It feels good to be in first place,” said Bombers manager Jud Kindle. “It’s a long season though. We’ve just got to keep playing good, consistent baseball and keep ourselves there.”
John Osborne’s second start was almost as impressive as his first. After five scoreless innings in his Bombers’ debut Thursday, the righty from Metropolitan Community College pitched six innings Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits.
After a one-two-three top of the first, Osborne worked around a two-out single in the second. Joplin got on the board in the third thanks to a lead-off double and a sacrifice fly but Osborne responded by retiring 10 Outlaw hitters in a row.
He got into trouble in the sixth, loading the bases before John Boidanis singled to drive in a run. A pop out to second and a fly ball to center ended the inning with just one run coming home.
“I just established my fastball early and often,” he said. “I kind of let the defense do their thing. I’m happy with the outcome.”
Tony Forcelledo came on to work the seventh and Joplin loaded the bases with one out before Chris Scroggins lined a pitch directly at Bombers second baseman Trey Hair who doubled off the runner at second to end the inning.
Former Smith-Cotton Tiger Dalton Christian came on to pitch the eighth. After a lead-off walk, he struck out Boidanis, got Enrique Finol to ground out to third and struck out Joseph Paulino to end the inning.
“It was really good,” he said. “I felt good. Even on the lead-off walk I had pretty good command on my fastball. After that it just flew by. That last hitter I had a couple of good breaking balls and got out of the inning.”
The Outlaws scored four runs in the ninth and had two on before a groundout and a strikeout ended the inning.
Sedalia hitters had 10 hits in the game, nine of which were singles including an infield single and a bunt single.
“Our approach had to change,” Kindle said. “We were hitting a lot of fly balls. We were finally driving the ball. That’s what we need. Our wheels, we were stealing bases. We looked really good on the bases.”
The Bombers scored two runs in the first. After Jarrod Perry walked and Hair was hit by a pitch, both scored on a hard hit grounder by Jonathan Ramon which Joplin second baseman Ryan Lazo couldn’t handle.
Two-out rallies added to the lead in the third and fourth innings. In the third inning the first two Bombers flew out to left but Ramon followed with a single to the opposite field. He later scored on a Shain Showers single to left.
In the fourth, Aaron Meyer and Perry walked with two outs, scoring on singles by Hair and Ramon.
The Bombers scored two more in the sixth. Meyer led off the inning with a triple off the wall in right. A single by Perry brought him home. Perry later stole third and scored when the throw from the catcher sailed into left.
In the seventh, a Jordan Dey flyball to the warning track in left was deep enough to score Showers from third to make it 8-2.
The Bombers will host Joplin again tonight at 7 p.m.