By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Webb City, lifted by a gritty pitching performance from Richie Peoples, spoiled the final home game of the baseball regular season for the Joplin High School baseball team with a 12-6 victory on Saturday at South Middle School.
The Cardinals, winning their third game of the week, improved to 14-6. The Eagles, denied their fourth win in a row on “Senior Day,” dropped to 11-12.
Peoples, a senior right-hander, scattered seven hits, struck out seven, walked two and hit two batters.
Said Webb City coach Chris Taylor: “Richie got better as the game went on. We had a guy warming up, probably in their five-run third inning, but Richie does such a good job battling.”
Peoples finished with a flourish. He returned the last 11 Eagles in a row and struck out the side in the sixth inning.
Said Joplin coach Kirk Harryman: “It was disappointing. Both teams had opportunities to make plays, throw strikes and come up with big hits. Webb City, unfortunately for us, did those things more often than we did.”
Webb City scored six times in the third inning with just three hits — singles by Klay James and Andrew McDaniel and a double by Seth Watkins. But the Eagles “assisted” with five walks and a hit batsman.
“We struggled at throwing the off-speed pitches for strikes,” Harryman said.
Said Taylor: “We’ve been doing a good job moving the ball and taking it to the opposite field. We haven’t been trying to do too much.”
James, Watkins, Gage Belcher and Carson Powell each had two hits for the Cardinals. Watkins drove in three runs and James a pair.
Joplin’s Brett Graham continued on a tear with a single, a home run and a double to drive in three runs. Tristan Ash added two singles for the Eagles.
There were eight errors combined in the clash of Class 4 teams.
“The temperature (in the 80s) and humidity made it seem like an American Legion game,” Harryman quipped.
Notes: Joplin seniors recognized were Quinton Anderson, Bryce Ash, Josh Banwart, Nathan Cox, Colin Hughes, Cole Lawver, Keith Simpson and Dayton Whitehead. Said Harryman of the seniors: “They’ve been great leaders and examples for our young kids. I’m very proud of this group. They’ve had to deal with more adversity in the last year than anyone should.” ... Joplin is at Camdenton on Monday and Nixa on Tuesday to finish the regular season. Probable starting pitchers for the Eagles are sophomore right-hander Tristan Ash and “by committee,” Harryman said. Webb City entertains Rogersville on Monday and travels to Springfield Kickapoo on Tuesday. Coach Taylor plans to start senior right-handers Breckin Williams and Belcher.