June 27, 2021
By Brennan Mense
ST. JOSEPH, MO—The Joplin Outlaws entered the bottom of the ninth inning at Phil Welch Stadium nursing a 2-1 lead, only for five straight batters to reach base, the last two of which reached on bases-loaded walks to hand the St. Joseph Mustangs a 3-2 win.
Joplin (9-8) lost in walk-off fashion for the second straight night as St. Joseph (11-7) claimed three of four in the season series between the two clubs.
The Outlaws jumped out to a quick lead against Mustangs starter Mack Stephenson. With one out in the first, Jared Toler reached on a dropped third strike, then moved to second on a walk. With two outs, Jeb Jenkins stroked a single to center that put Joplin up 1-0
That score held as Stephenson and Joplin starter Justin Schrader traded zeroes. Making his first start of the season, Schrader allowed only two St. Joseph runners to reach second base over six innings.
Stephenson, meanwhile, needed a bizarre 1-5-1-4 double play off a pickoff to escape a second-inning jam, then wiggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out spot in the fifth to keep the Mustangs within a run.
Regardless, the score remained 1-0 into the seventh, when Austin Gottula entered for Schrader. The lead evaporated quickly, as Coleman Fenton launched Gottula's second pitch of the night over the right field fence for a solo homer, tying the game at one apiece.
However, Joplin had an immediate answer. Stephenson departed after seven innings in favor of Jay Greco, who retired the first two batters he faced. However, Jenkins laid down a bunt single, then stole second. With the count at 1-2, Cade Lott lifted a deep fly ball to right field that Derrick Mayes misplayed into a go-ahead double, staking the Outlaws to a 2-1 advantage.
Pitching with the lead once more, Gottula responded with a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth. In the ninth, Jack Algee entered in search of his first save. Instead, he failed to even record an out.
Following a leadoff single, a fielding error by Lott compounded by an Ethan Ellis throwing error put runners on second and third with nobody out. At that point, Algee's control deserted him.
Dakota Spicer walked to load the bases with still no outs, bringing up pinch hitter Brady Holden. Algee proceeded to walk him on five pitches, bringing in Michael Paule to tie the game. Algee then fell behind Noah Bodenhousen 3-0 before walking him on five pitches as well, forcing home Fenton with the winning run in a 3-2 Mustangs win.
Schrader tossed 6.0 shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out six in a no-decision. Austin Gottula worked 2.0 innings, allowing a run on two hits with no walks or strikeouts. Algee (0-1) failed to record an out, allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit and three walks.
Joplin will return to home tonight for their first non-league contest of the season, which will take place against the Queen City Crush out of the Show Me League of Springfield, MO. First pitch is at 7:00 p.m. and the broadcast will be available on UclickTV on pay-per-view, as well as with all Joplin Outlaws and MINK League season passes.