By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
Logan Bradley went 4-for-4 and drove in Kyle Dickens with the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Joplin Outlaws defeated Ozark 8-7 in the first game of a MINK League doubleheader Tuesday night at Joe Becker Stadium.
Bradley, who entered the game as the first baseman in the third inning, came to the plate in the ninth after back-to-back one-out singles by Dickens and Enrique Finol.
“I just tried to stay within myself and keep doing what I had been doing all day, just stay calm and relaxed,” said Bradley, who played last spring at Mineral Area College. “I knew he (Dickens) is fast. If it wouldn’t have been for his great slide, he wouldn’t have made it.”
Dickens, who was 4-for-5, drove in a run and scored twice, was waved home by Outlaws third base coach Rob Vessell.
“The jump I had from second base was the only reason I was safe,” said Dickens, a product of Neosho High School and Crowder College. “It was a close play at the plate.”
The Outlaws took a 7-3 lead into the seventh inning, but the Generals loaded the bases without a hit on two hit batsmen and a walk. Designated hitter Payton Reed drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Sam Williams singled in a run and Spencer Blacksher tied the score with a two-run triple.
Outlaws starting pitcher Matt Hasenbeck retired 13 of the first 16 batters he faced over 4 2/3 innings as the Outlaws took a 6-0 lead. Hasenbeck, in his fifth start, allowed four hits, walked three and struck out three.
“Up to that point (in the fifth inning), I had my breaking ball working and I was trying to learn a new pitch, a spike curve,” Hasenbeck said. “It was good. It’s always nice to have the runs scored, too.”
Dickens saved a run in the third inning with a sliding catch on Eric Ferguson’s drive down the right-field line, and his throw doubled Justin Lois off first base.
“It was slicing away from me. That’s why I had to slide,” said Dickens. “It was a hit-and-run, so I knew he was dead to red. It was a very exciting game.”
The Outlaws scored three runs with the help of two Ozark errors in the second inning, then added a run in the third inning when Dickens’ two-out single scored catcher Max Ayoub, who doubled.
In the fourth inning, shortstop Nick Moore and Bradley singled with two out before designated hitter Zac Stewart’s double off the left-field fence scored both runners.
Trailing 6-0, Ozark scored twice in the fifth on back-to-back RBI singles by Ferguson and Paul Richmond. The Generals added a run in the fifth inning on Alex Heideman’s RBI infield single.
In the second game, Ozark overcame a 4-1 deficit after four innings and defeated the Outlaws 7-5. Stewart, who doubled twice in the first game, was 3-for-3 in the second game with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Finol and Koby Chadick each had two hits.