The Bombers hosted a tie-breaking skirmish Tuesday against the Chillicothe Mudcats, but their race in the MINK League North is just getting started.
Cole Taylor and Brendon Davis homered for the first time this summer to support six-plus innings from starting pitcher Justin Root during a 10-inning, 9-6 loss at Liberty Park Stadium.
Sedalia sought to avenge an 8-7 home loss Saturday in which Jackson Schmedding turned in the team’s best start of the season. He struck out 11 batters and allowed three hits, including a home run, but exited in the sixth in line for a 1-0 loss.
It seemed the Bombers hit the jackpot when AJ Gardner hit his seventh home run during a seven-run seventh inning. They squandered their winnings as four pitchers combined to allow seven runs in the final three frames. Conner Darnell recorded two outs and was the only reliever with a scoreless appearance.
The Bombers (11-7) picked a bad time to lose three games in a row. Their first losing streak of the season has slipped Sedalia to third place in the MINK League North, positioned two games behind the St. Joseph Mustangs and one behind the second-place Mudcats.
Facing a three-run deficit, Chillicothe’s Marcus Gonzalez led off the ninth with a triple against Sam Danker, and Tate Wargo made it a one-run game with two outs to play. Tre Turner nearly saved the game with a diving catch, but Logan Eikhoff followed the web gem with a game-tying single.
Dom Trivino and Wargo drove in the go-ahead runs in the 10th.
Jake Lufft gapped an run-producing double for his 18th RBI to give the Bombers a one-run lead in the first. He was spelled by Quin Reasoner at third base in the fifth inning.
In the fourth, Taylor doubled over the first base bag, Blake Ford accepted the fifth Bombers walk of the contest before Brendon Davis drove his first longball of the season past the center-field fence. The Bombers stranded Mays, hit by a pitch, but led 4-0 after four innings.
Brock Petit relieved Chillicothe starter Christhian Cardona for the sixth inning, stranding a pair of Bombers in a scoreless frame. Cardona finished with four strikeouts and six walks.
With two outs in the third, a check-swing single off the bat of Brandon Settles represented Chillicothe’s first baserunner. Baxter Mays slid to his left to end the inning with a nifty catch.
Root was ousted by a three-run seventh that ended in controversial fashion. Logan Eikhoff led off with a double and scored on a Chet Merritt fielder’s choice. Blaine Ray walked — the first free pass issued by Root — and Marcus Gonzalez pinch-hit with the bases two on and one out.
Gonzalez chased Root with a two-run knock aided by a Bombers error, but was the final out of the inning when it was ruled he tagged early from third after Tre Turner completed a diving catch. It capped a frustrating evening for Chillicothe’s coaches, who disputed Taylor’s double down the line and an interference call on an attempted stolen base.
In the next frame, Gardner reached second when the Mudcats outfield lost his fly ball in the lights. Taylor capitalized, ripping a home run that tailed past the 290-feet sign in right field.
Cole Young (Central Missouri) and Chase Hutson (Three Rivers Community College) recorded three outs each before the three-run ninth. Alec Luyet made his third appearance of the season to pitch the 10th.
BOMBERS ON THE RUNWAY
The Bombers start a four-game road trip 7 p.m. Wednesday at Clarinda. Sedalia hits St. Joseph on Independence Day, Jefferson City on Friday and Chillicothe on Saturday. They return home for a season-long homestand of eight games 7 p.m. Sunday, July 7, versus the Mustangs.
REMEMBER THE NAME
Chillicothe infielder Kole Ficken, who batted second for the Mudcats, plans to play baseball for State Fair Community College after spending his freshman season at Central Missouri. Ficken, of Boonville, batted .235 with five doubles in 14 games for the Mules.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Gardner was named MINK League Player of the Month after bashing seven home runs, three triples and driving in 22 runs. Alabama State’s outfielder also contributed eight stolen bases and posted an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.283.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.