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Outlaws Blow Late Lead, Fall 6-5 in 10 at St. Joseph

June 26, 2021

By Brennan Mense


ST. JOSEPH, MO—The Joplin Outlaws committed a season-high five errors, struck out a season-high 13 times, and couldn't hold a three-run lead as the St. Joseph Mustangs took a walk-off 6-5 victory in 10 innings on Saturday night at Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph.

Joplin (9-7) fell in walk-off fashion for the second time this year, while St. Joseph (10-7) earned their second walk-off win of the season.

Starters John Kea for Joplin and Matt Fred for St. Joseph started off the contest with two scoreless innings each before each team struck in the third innings.

With two outs in the top of the frame, Caleb Feuerstake drew a walk against Fred, then came home as Ethan Ellis blasted a triple off the center field wall to give the Outlaws a 1-0 lead.

That lead wouldn't even last the inning, though, as St. Joseph responded against Kea. Brady Holden led off the bottom of the frame with a single, the stole second and third. Following a strikeout, Jake Grauberger lifted a sacrifice fly to right which brought home Holden to tie the game at one apiece.

In the fourth, however, Joplin responded right back with another two-out rally. Calen Protaskey and Ethan Lopez drew walks off Fred with two outs, and both of them came home when Brandon Ulmer ripped a first-pitch fastball off the right-field wall for a two-run double.

Joplin proceeded to add on another tally in the sixth inning, thanks largely to the legs of Lawson Faria. The Outlaws' second basemen reached on an infield single with one out, stole second, then with two outs stole third. However, catcher Coleman Fenton's throw to third sailed into left field, allowing Faria to trot home, staking the Outlaws to a 4-1 advantage.

However, the tide began to turn in the bottom of the sixth as a string of unfortunate events turned against Joplin. Kea returned to the mound and struck out Sam Kissane to begin the inning, but the third strike rolled away, allowing him to reach. Following a balk, Ike Book dropped a bloop single into left, chasing Kea, who gave way to Austin Gottula.

With runners on the corners and no outs, a throwing error allowed one run to score and put two more in scoring position. A sacrifice fly by Fenton closed the gap to 4-3, with the tying run moving to third with one out. Gottula was able to buckle down, though, and induced a pop-up and strikeout to preserve the one-run lead.

The score remained the same into the eighth, when the Outlaws produced another two-out tally. Calen Protaskey turned on a 2-0 fastball from St. Joseph reliever Jaren Guck and lined it over the left field fence for a solo homer, putting the Outlaws back up by two.

In the bottom of the eighth, though, St. Joe struck back with the longball. Against new pitcher Clay Saporito, Kissane struck out on a pitch in the dirt to begin the inning, but Protaskey's throw to first to complete the punchout was errant, putting a runner on thanks to the fifth Joplin error of the night.

On the very next pitch, Book turned on a delivery from Saporito and crushed a two-run homer onto the roof of the party deck in right field. The shot tied the game at five apiece.

After both teams put two runners on in the ninth, the game went to extra innings, which for Joplin was their first foray into extra frames this season.

Joplin went down in order in the tenth, setting the stage for St. Joseph. Book led off the inning with a single, then moved to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, a groundout moved Book to third, just 90 feet from victory. Sean O'Malley came off the bench as a pinch hitter and lined a 2-1 pitch from Jeb Jenkins into left field for the walk-off single, capping off a 6-5 win for St. Joseph.

Kea went 5.0+ innings, allowing three runs on six hits, walking one and striking out six. Gottula threw 2.0 hitless, scoreless innings with one strikeout. Saporito tossed one inning, allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit with two strikeouts. Jake Algee struck out one and worked around two hits in a scoreless inning, while Jenkins (0-1) took the loss, allowing two hits, one run, and striking out one in two-thirds of an inning.

Joplin will return to action tonight in St. Joseph to wrap up a rain-shortened three-game road trip. First pitch is at 7:00 p.m. and will be available on UclickTV on pay-per-view, as well as all Joplin Outlaws, St. Joseph Mustangs, and MINK League season passes.



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