The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 13, 2012

Walks, errors doom Outlaws in loss to Clarinda

Three walks and four Joplin errors dug a four-run hole in the first inning, and two more errors set up the go-ahead run in the seventh as the Clarinda A’s downed the Outlaws 9-8 Tuesday night at Wendell Redden Stadium.

The A’s led 6-0 after 11⁄2 innings, trailed 8-6 after three innings, then tied it on Zack Reding’s two-run single in the fourth.

It was still 8-8 when Jason Moralez reached on an error by third baseman Taylor Eaves to start the Clarinda seventh. Pitcher Jacob Sullinger (0-2) mishandled Josh Reynolds’ sacrifice bunt to put two runners on base, and Dominick Francia’s perfectly placed bunt down the third-base line filled the bases.

With Demarco Poindexter batting, Sullinger’s low pitch went to the backstop, allowing Moralez to score. Sullinger prevented further damage by retiring Poindexter on a grounder to shortstop Jimmy Obermark, Jarvis Smith on a grounder to Eaves at third and Brandon Thomasson on a foulout to first baseman Conor Smith.

The Outlaws, who suffered their first home loss in four games, threatened in the ninth when Kyle Dickens was hit by a pitch and Zack Steadman singled to right with one out. But Justin Page secured his third save by retiring Eaves on a strikeout and Cody Ball on a flyball to center.

Clarinda, which snapped Joplin’s four-game winning streak, led 6-3 after two innings that took more than an hour to play and saw the teams combine for more walks (eight) and hit batsmen (seven) than hits (four). For the game, three Joplin pitchers walked seven batters and hit six while four Clarinda pitchers had eight walks and hit six. The Outlaws also committed a season-high seven errors.

“We struggled early finding the zone,” Outlaws coach Rob Vessell said. “Too many walks, too many hit by pitches and when that’s the case, you’re going to put your defense to sleep. Any time a game like this happens, it’s going to be tough for the defense to focus.

“On both sides tonight, this was not a baseball game. But we fought hard, we came back. We had a chance to win it at the end. Offensively the guys are swinging it, but we really need the pitching staff to step up and know their roles and accept their roles.”

Eaves paced the offense with three hits and four runs batted in, including a two-run single during a three-run second inning and two-run double in a five-run third. Cody Ball’s grounder to shortstop made it 6-6, and the last two runs in the third scored on an errant pickoff throw by  catcher Moralez.

Ryan Bilovesky was hit by a pitch with two outs in the A’s fourth and took third on Sam Tolleson’s single to right. After Tolleson stole second, both runners scored on Reding’s single to right.

“We had the lead and couldn’t hold it,” Vessell said. “Honestly that’s kind of been the story of our season. We tend to give more games away, and once we figure out not to beat ourselves and how to play with a lead, we’ll be really good.”

Steadman and Griffen Glaude added two hits apiece for the Outlaws, who conclude their homestand with a 7 p.m. game today against the Sedalia Bombers.

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