The Sedalia Bombers had two starting pitchers in the ballpark Monday against the Branson Nationals, and they ended up needing them both.
Cole Bartlett struck out nine batters in seven scoreless innings on the mound, and John Osborne finished it off to give the Bombers a 1-0 win at Dey Field at Liberly Park.
“Our coaches kind of got the starters mixed up today, so both of us showed up,” Osborne said. “I was expecting to start, but two inning of relief isn’t a bad deal.”
The Bombers scored the first run of the game in the seventh inning. Jerrod Perry pinch ran for Jordan Dey, who singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jonathan Ramon’s sacrifice bunt got Perry to third and Aaron Meyer’s fly out to left allowed Perry to tag up and score.
“We wanted to give Jerrod a day off, but the situation didn’t let us,” said Bombers manager Jud Kindle. “Late in the ball game there wasn’t a lot of scoring going on. Jordan got a base hit and we put somebody on the bases that could run.”
The Bombers had a chance for insurance runs in the eighth inning with runners on the corners, but Collins got Hunter Leeper to strike out and Alex Bee to fly out to end the inning. But the Bombers didn’t need them.
Osborne stranded a Branson runner at third base in the eighth and got out of the ninth only giving up a two-out single.
“I established my fastball and I had my splitter working for me pretty good,” Osborne said.
Leeper helped out on the defensive end in the eighth inning. He made a diving catch in left field for the second out.
Bartlett got out of trouble in the fifth and seventh innings. He walked one and gave up a single with one out in the fifth inning, but struck out the next two batters to strand two Nationals on base.
The Nationals loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but Bartlett got Garrett Mays to fly out to center field on a full count to end the inning.
Bartlett retired the Nationals in order in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
The Bombers had a chance to break the scoreless tie in the fifth, but Trey Hair grounded out to third to strand Jess Cartner and Shain Showers in scoring position. Showers and Cartner walked with two outs and advanced to second and third on a balk. Ramon nearly got the Bombers on the board with a solo home run to lead off the fifth inning, but his fly ball to right field was caught next to the wall.
Nationals starting pitcher Tim Collins recovered on the mound in the sixth, getting Tony Sandifer and Leeper to fly out to center field and Bee to pop out to the third baseman.
Collins allowed one run on four hits and struck out four for Branson.
With the win, the Bombers improve to 25-12 and remain the MINK League South Division leaders over the Joplin Outlaws.
The Bombers will visit Joplin today for a 7 p.m. game before hosting the Nationals at 7 p.m. Wednesday.