Reeling from the excitement of a drafted teammate, the current Sedalia Bombers turned their attention to the future.
Jake Lufft homered and drove in three runs to support Elijah Richardson’s first start of the summer Thursday during a 9-5 Bombers victory over the Nevada Griffons at Liberty Park Stadium.
Nevada starter Drew Perez, who played the infield at State Fair Community College, issued three walks to load the bases in the first inning, and Lufft capitalized with a two-run double down the third-base line.
Lufft was surprised to see his Roadrunners teammate on the bump.
“He didn’t pitch at all this spring,” Lufft said. “He didn’t even get on the mound.”
An incoming sophomore for SFCC, Lufft experienced a different surprise Wednesday when his Roadrunners and Bombers teammate, Gavin Jones, was picked by the Oakland Athletics in the 27th round of the MLB Draft.
“I was expecting him to go a little bit sooner,” Lufft said. “I knew it was going to happen, I just thought it would be a little sooner.
“He’s honestly one of the best baseball players I’ve ever seen play, in person.”
Lufft was less surprised than he was humbled at the prospect of being the next Roadrunner drafted.
“I hope,” he said. “I wish. We’ll see.”
Nick Hagedorn scored on a passed ball and, after three outs and as many earned runs, Perez exited in favor of southpaw Brandin Hallier. Lufft swatted the first pitch of the third inning for his first home run of the summer, and his third RBI put the Bombers ahead 4-0.
Tyson Cushman led off the fourth with a double into the right-field corner. AJ Gardner drove in a pair in the same frame and, in the fifth, Hagedorn and Dalton Bealmer rallied with two outs and increased the lead to 9-0.
Tyler Abney, the first of three Smith-Cotton graduates to pitch out of the bullpen, followed Jake Hollingsworth’s scoreless sixth with a two-run seventh. Nathan Brock allowed one run in the eighth and Alec Luyet closed the game with a two-run ninth.
Richeson finished with three strikeouts and allowed one hit in four innings. Converting from a bullpen role at Lindenwood, he said his velocity dipped as the outing wore on. The freshman hopes to increase his flexibility as he searches for his next program.
“My availability, I want to be able to go longer,” Richeson said. “Not just a one or two-inning guy.”
Richeson said conditioning is the first step in his conversion.
“Taking care of my arm, that’s the biggest thing,” Richeson said. “If I throw that many pitches and just blow it off, then I’m going to start having arm troubles again.”
Sedalia (3-1) returns to Liberty Park Stadium 7 p.m. Friday to rematch the Griffons. Nevada dealt the Bombers their first loss of the season Tuesday, 4-3. Inclement weather forced the Bombers to postpone their Wednesday contest at Chillicothe, with a reschedule date to be determined.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.