Burke Echelmeier gave the Bombers seven strong innings and Sedalia snapped a two-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over Branson on Monday at Dey Field at Liberty Park.
Echelmeier induced grounder after grounder — 11 of Branson’s first 15 outs came on ground balls — and Branson didn’t get a ball out of the infield until the fifth inning.
The Nationals went down in order in the first. They put runners on base in the second and third innings but a double play and a pick-off ended those threats. An error put a man on with one out in the top of the fourth before Echelmeier struck out the next two batters he faced.
“I was just working fastball in and out, changing speeds,” he said. “Just keeping the ball low, getting a lot of ground balls. I was just staying consistent the whole time.”
In the fifth, the Nationals got a pair of two-out singles to put runners on the corners, but another grounder ended that threat.
In the sixth, Branson got another single but Echelmeier made sure they got no runs out of the inning by striking out three Nationals looking.
“He was just pounding the zone, getting a lot of movement,” said Bombers catcher Daniel Arthur. “He had his good stuff.”
The Nationals scored a run in the eighth. After Echelmeier got the first out through a fly ball to center, a hit batsman and a walk caused manager Jud Kindle to go to the bullpen and bring in Danny Chambliss. Chambliss walked the first man he faced to load the bases, and a run scored on a grounder before a strikeout to end the inning.
“He probably could have finished the eighth,” Kindle said of his starter. “We wanted to go to our bullpen and get some bullpen work. Great pitching performance by (Echelmeier).”
Branson starter Aaron Patton was strong in the early innings as well, getting help from his defense with a double play to end the first and pitching one-two-three innings in the fourth and fifth.
“He was hitting his spots well,” Arthur said. “Kept us off-speed, just pounding the zone.”
The Bombers broke through in the third. Arthur snuck a double down the rightfield line and scored from third on a sacrifice fly to center by Shain Showers.
“I was just looking to fight something off, get something in play,” Arthur said.
They added another in the sixth. Jarrod Perry walked and stole second and Hunter Leeper followed with an RBI base hit down the line in left.
The third run came in the seventh as Trey Hair hit a ball up the middle which took a Liberty Hop into center, scoring Jess Cartner from second. Arthur scored moments later on a sacrifice fly by Perry to make it 4-0.
After the Nationals scored in the top of the eighth, the Bombers answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. With runners on first and second, Johnathan Ramon squared to bunt. Branson first baseman Connor Wilson threw to third to get the lead runner Leeper, but the throw sailed into left, allowing Leeper to score. Cartner followed with a single to drive home Matt Jones to make it 6-1 and Ramon scored on a grounder.
“I think, not that we didn’t have a good approach early, but later in the game we had a much better approach,” Kindle said. “We had some good two-out hits.”
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Bombers. Sedalia will host Ozark at 7 p.m. today.