By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin High School baseball team, just when it seemed the pitching on both sides was in control, pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Kickapoo 4-3 on Tuesday at Joe Becker Stadium.
“It would have been a tough one to lose,” Joplin coach Kirk Harryman said.
The Eagles climbed to 5-6 overall and 1-1 in the Ozark Conference. The Chiefs, coming off a championship in the Springfield Red and Blue Classic, slipped to 9-4, 1-1.
Said Kickapoo coach Jason Howser: “This game came down to doing the little things. Joplin, in that respect, did theirs better today.”
Joplin broke through in the seventh inning after senior right-hander Ryan Rippee struck out three Eagles in a row in the sixth.
Colin Hughes drew a one-out walk, moved to second base on a wild pitch, moved to third on a ground-out by Tristan Ash and scored as Bryce Ash — Tristan’s brother — pulled a solid single to left field.
The pitching victory for junior right-hander Adam St. Peter was justice, Harryman said.
“Adam threw the ball very well,” Harryman said. “He’s given us the opportunity to win his last three starts. He deserved this one. I’m glad we were able to win for him.”
St. Peter, who allowed six hits with half coming in a two-run third inning, retired the last nine Chiefs in succession. Rippee permitted five hits.
“Our guy (Rippee) pitched well enough to win, too,” Howser, a member of the Crowder College Baseball Hall of Fame, said. “I don’t believe, however, the approaches of our hitters at the plate were the best.”
Joplin scored a run in each of the first three innings.
Bryce Ash walked in the first inning, advanced to second on Dayton Whitehead’s bunt and scored on Brett Graham’s sharp single. Nathan Brummer led off the second with a double and eventually scored on Chris Leonardi’s sacrifice fly. Whitehead singled in the third, swiped second, advanced to third on Graham’s ground-out and scored on St. Peter’s ground-out.
Chandler Hall and Cole Macchi scored the third-inning runs for Kickapoo and Hunter Kniepfel and Rippee had the RBI. The Chiefs’ Cody Tolleson scored in the fourth inning on a wild pitch after singling.
Joplin resumes in the Ozark Conference with a visit to Parkview at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Caleb Garton, a junior right-hander, is the probable starting hurler for the Eagles in the varsity contest.