July 14, 2021
By Brennan Mense
JOPLIN, MO—The Joplin Outlaws scored twice in the ninth and had the winning run at the plate, but could not come up with a clutch hit as they dropped their third straight, falling 8-6 to the Jefferson City Renegades at Joe Becker Stadium.
Jefferson City (14-16) snapped a four-game losing streak and moved out of the MINK League South basement, being replaced by Joplin (15-16), who fell to last place with their sixth loss in seven games.
The first three innings flew by as Outlaws starter Jeremiah Kennedy set down the first nine Renegades to come to the plate. Jeff City starter Dylan Dunbar made his first start in a month and showed no signs of rust, setting down nine straight Outlaws following a leadoff single in the first.
The fourth inning was a different story, as Kennedy's first pitch of the inning was roped for a double by Josef Kielholz. After he hit Drew Mize to put two on with no out, Kennedy induced a fly out which moved Keilholz to third. Mize then ripped off second, putting two in scoring position with one out.
Kennedy buckled down and struck out David Dell for the second out, then worked a 2-2 count on Tommy Ruether. However, Ruether stroked a single to center, scoring both runners to give the Renegades a 2-0 lead.
Joplin got to Dunbar immediately though. After a pop-up of his dropped foul between two defenders, Caleb Feuerstake was hit by a pitch and moved from first to third when Logan Cline reached on an error by Kielholz at short. With runners on the corners and no outs, Cline took off for second, but the throw sailed into center field, scoring Feuerstake for Joplin's first run.
Cline advanced to third on the errant throw and scored moments later when Ethan Ellis tied the game with a single to left. After Ellis stole second and moved to third on a single, Cade Lott rolled into a fielder's choice that scored Ellis, giving the Outlaws a 3-2 lead.
After Kennedy threw a five-pitch top of the fifth, the Outlaws added on another run in the bottom of the frame. Brett Wiemers led off with a single and moved to third on a Feuerstake hit. That spelled the end of Dunbar's night, and Shane Fontenot entered the game. He was greeted by an RBI groundout from Cline, but after a walk, he induced a double play from Dawson Walters to strand a runner at third.
Kennedy looked to repeat his success in the sixth, but instead ran into a wall that turned the tide of the game. Mize led off with a double and scored two batters later on Dell's RBI single. Reuther singled, then Brady Voss ripped an 0-2 pitch that skipped over the wall for a ground-rule double that tied the game at four apiece.
Kennedy then gave way to Clay Saporito with two in scoring position and one out, and he induced a pop-up to start his outing. However, he failed to get the third out. Consecutive walks to Ben Burton and Caden Diel loaded the bases and scored the go-ahead run, respectively, and wild pitch brought home another tally. Kielholz then followed with a two-run double down the right-field line, scoring two more to cap off a six-run frame that staked the Renegades to an 8-4 lead.
With Fontenot in the game, the Outlaws could not break through. Joplin had a leadoff single in the sixth, and two on with one out in both the seventh and eighth, but each time, Fontenot escaped with a scoreless inning.
In the ninth, Kaden Demel entered the game for the Renegades and the Outlaws mounted a rally. Weimers singled for his third hit of the night and moved to second when Feuerstake was plunked for a second time. Cline stepped up and on a crucial play, was rung up on a borderline 3-2 pitch for the first out.
Ellis followed with an infield single to load the bases with one out for pinch-hitter Calen Protaskey. However, Protaskey struck out on three pitches, leaving the game in the hands of Jared Toler. Down to his final strike, Toler dumped a two-run single into left, his third hit of the night, which put the tying run on base for Cade Lott. However, Demel caught Lott looking to end the game, securing Jefferson City's 8-6 win.
Wiemers and Toler each collected three hits for the Outlaws, with Wiemers scoring twice and Toler driving in two runs.
Kennedy (1-1) went a season-high 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with three strikeouts, taking his first loss. Saporito recorded just one out, allowing a hit, two walks, and two runs. Christian DeJesus went 1.1 hitless innings, allowing a walk and fanning two, and Justin Schrader tossed 2.0 hitless innings, hitting one, but striking out five.
The Outlaws will take on the Nevada Griffons for the final time this season tonight, with a 7:00 first pitch scheduled at Joe Becker Stadium. The game will be available on pay-per-view, as well as with all Joplin Outlaws and MINK League passes.