Forgettable results bookended a pair of Saturday wins for the Sedalia Travelers, who batted .500 at their wood bat tourney that concluded Sunday.
The senior legion side ran into a problem Sunday familiar to Friday’s loss: a rusty start to things offensively before picking it up at the plate with too great a deficit to erase.
Travelers head coach Tanner McKee called it frustrating after the previous weekend’s exceptional performance in Branson.
“The effort and attitude wasn’t there, and that’s the last time that happens, because that’s the way I coach,” McKee said following Sunday’s 9-5 letdown to Moberly. “Those are two things we can control. … That won’t happen again.”
Sedalia got out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but command issues that plagued starting pitcher Braiden McKeachern allowed Moberly to a six-run third inning that couldn’t be matched.
After the first inning, the Travelers managed just one hit after up until the seventh. An RBI double by Colton Zerilli and a two-out single by Baron Austin that dropped fair in right field drove in two more, but the rally fell short to end the weekend.
“They get a 6-2 lead, and it’s almost like the wind was taken out of our sails,” McKee said. “We had some not-so-good approaches at the plate kind of going through the motions, and all the sudden the seventh inning hits, and it’s like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to get runs.’ That’s got to come in the fourth. I like the fight in the seventh, but we’ve got to respond as soon as that happens.”
The silver lining of the three-day event was coming out of Saturday night’s three-hour-plus game against Branson with a 19-16 victory. With a scoreboard that could have doubled as a golf scorecard, Sedalia looked in the clear as Connor Tichenor and Brandon Kindle both scored on a sacrifice fly and an overthrow to third base that had the Travelers doubling up the visitors 16-8 after four innings. But Branson answered with eight runs of its own over its final three innings at the plate, making Tichenor’s two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth look more necessary in hindsight.
“That would have been a tough loss to swallow,” McKee said. “It was an ugly win, but you have those some days. Those are the ones you’ve got to gut through, and it was worth it.”
Coming off a 12-6 defeat to Hillcrest to open the tournament, early morning showers on Saturday didn’t prevent the Travelers from taking to the field for an 8-4 victory over Green City. Starter Will Knight went six strong innings and his support came primarily in a fifth inning where four hits in a row yielded as many runs. Duffin Makings put the icing on the cake in that victory with a seventh-inning home run.
Makings and Tichenor tied for a team-high seven hits over the weekend.
Next up for Post 642 is an important doubleheader Wednesday at home against Blue Springs Rod's Sports A's.