The scoreboard showed zero runs for the Rick Ball Ford Sedalia Juniors for the first five innings of Friday’s game against the Independence Indians, but it showed a five in the sixth inning and the Juniors won 5-2 to advance to the AA Zone 2 Tournament title game.
Four of the Juniors’ five hits came in the sixth inning, and none were bigger than Mason Sanders’ double and Gavin Jones’ single.
With two on and one out, Sanders dropped a single just in front of a diving right fielder to drive in Chase Plymell and Landon Dove to tie it up at two runs apiece.
“We knew they couldn’t shut us down,” said Juniors coach Jeff Mays. “We had some guys in scoring position the two innings before and we finally got that one big hit we’ve been looking for from Mason. We just kind of snowballed after that.”
After two walks and a fielder’s choice that got Sanders out at home, Chase Hagle walked to bring home Gehrig Taylor and give the Juniors a 3-2 lead.
Jones was next up to the plate with a chance to give himself cushion on the mound for the seventh inning.
“We already had one insurance run so I thought that was enough,” Jones said.
But he added two runs to the scoreboard anyway with a single just past a diving shortstop to bring home Jake Kindle and Baxter Mays.
“I tried to put the best swing on it and the best result happened,” Jones said.
Mays slid into home plate and the celebration was on when the umpire called him safe.
The Indians led off the seventh inning with a double and drew a walk with one out, but an infield fly and a strikeout ended the game.
Jones ended up allowing two runs on five hits and striking out eight in a winning effort.
Braydon Phillips tripled with one out in the second inning, but Jones forced two groundouts to limit Independence to one run. Phillips scored on the first groundout.
In the third inning, Garrett Schuster grounded out, which allowed Keegan Wilson to score from third base.
The Indians had runners on the corners with no outs, but Jones got a strikeout and two groundouts to once again limit Independence to one run.
The Juniors had one hit before the sixth inning and either flew out eight times in that span.
“We just didn’t have timing on the guy,” Jones said. “I knew that we’d eventually hit them and just got the win.”
The Juniors will play Independence at 1 p.m. Saturday for a chance to advance to the AA State Tournament in Jackson, Mo.