A six-run eighth inning rally lifted Hi-Boy past the Sedalia Travelers 9-6 in the opening game of the District 5 senior Legion baseball tournament on Friday at Dey Field at Liberty Park Stadium.
Lane Soendker pitched seven strong innings but a pair of errors got Hi-Boy, of Independence, started in the eighth. The Travelers committed five errors in the game.
“We had two pop flies in the outfield that were misplayed that led to big innings,” said Travelers manager Mark Carey. “That last inning that error killed us. That got their rally going. Maybe they were a little tighter than they should have been.”
After Garrett Phillips and Trevor Jefferies reached on errors to lead off the eighth, Tyler Cross singled to right. He was thrown out trying to take an extra base but Phillips scored on the play, cutting the Travelers lead to 6-4.
Alex Merrithew singled to score Jefferies. After Caleb Tanguay came on in relief, hitting one batter and walking another, Austin Bullerd relieved him and Darby Raines hit the first pitch from Bullerd to right-center field for a double to drive in a pair of runs. Blake Sellers followed with a single to score two more.
“The bullpen’s got to come in and shut guys down,” Carey said.
Soendker started the game by recording back-to-back one-two-three innings in the first and second. After a leadoff single in the third, the Travelers got out of the inning with no runs scored.
Hi-Boy pushed a run across in the fourth. With runners on the corners, Soendker threw to first to try to pick off the runner, and Sellers broke from third and scored.
Soendker worked around a leadoff single in the fifth before allowing two more runs in the sixth. Merrithew and Austin Garcia hit back-to-back, bases-loaded singles. With the tying run in scoring position, Soendker struck out Skylar Schwab to end the inning, then threw a seven-pitch, one-two-three seventh.
“That showed us that he was still locating, and he could still throw strikes so we sent him back out there in the eighth,” Carey said.
He struck out six in the game while walking just one.
“He did everything we asked him to, which was to get outs and keep it under three runs in five innings,” Carey said. “The plan was set; it just didn’t work out.”
In the first and second innings, the Travelers got runners on via one-out singles, but in both innings, the next batter hit into an inning-ending double play.
“It’s driving through the baseball,” Carey said. “I think our guys were a little amped up. We’re a doubles team, and they were just rolling over groundballs early in the game. That hurt us, but that’s the game of baseball.”
The Travelers broke through in the third. After Tanguay, Luke Archibeque and Chance McMullin hit consecutive singles, Darion Lawrence drew a walk to force home the game’s first run. Ian Dotson followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Archibeque, but that was all the Travelers got in the inning as Dalton Christian grounded out to end the threat.
The Travelers added to the lead in the sixth, as Dotson and Zach Bishop started the inning with base hits. Dotson scored on a sacrifice fly by A.J. Paul. Bishop crossed the plate on an error, and Henry Tietz scored on a passed ball to put the Travelers ahead 5-1 and chasing Hi-Boy starter Jordan Pinkley from the game.
“Guys were showing me pretty good approaches,” Carey said. “That was a pretty good pitcher. That’s their best guy they had, and he had a sneaky fastball. We hit the ball pretty well in the beginning, but we got a lot of hits with two outs and nobody on base. Those don’t really help us very often. You’ve got to get guys on in front of those two-out hits.”
The Travelers fell to the losers bracket and will play at 1 p.m. Saturday needing a win to continue their season.
“We have to fight our way back through the losers bracket now, and we’ve got to win three in a row now,” Carey said. “It’s tough, but we’re capable of doing that.”