By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin Miners continued to roll on Thursday night in District 15 games used to determine seedings for the postseason tournament scheduled to begin Tuesday at McDonald County.
The Miners, avenging an earlier loss to Webb City Post 322, won 8-2 behind the five-hit pitching of Tristan Ash, Colton Johnson’s two-run, inside-the-park home run and Gavin Jones’ three runs batted in.
The Miners (29-6, 10-2), perhaps nailing down a No. 1 seed with the opening victory, won the second game 18-2 in four innings at Barnes Field.
Webb City wound up 8-4 in District 15 in finishing the regular season.
The Miners visit Baxter Springs at noon on Saturday with the twinbill scheduled at the Field of Dreams.
The right-handed Ash, who’ll be a senior at Joplin High School, had an intriguing pitching line in that he hit five batters and walked four. But Post 322 managed only three hits after getting two in scoring its runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Said Webb City coach Chris Taylor: “Ash did a good job., We had guys in scoring position several times but he was able to work out of the jams. We hit the ball fairly well.”
Said Joplin coach Drew Schulte: “We hit the ball well and Ash pitched a decent game. I’m very pleased with our performance.
“Tristan, who improved to 6-0, had defensive help,” Schulte said. “Rex Whisner made a couple of good plays in left field. (Catcher) Tyson Hardee picked off a runner at second base. (Second baseman) Blake Brown and Johnson (at first base) did a nice job turning a double play.”
Mason Williams was hit by a pitch for Post 322 in the first inning and came around on a sacrifice by Maquel Harbin, a balk, a walk to Austin Carter and a single by Cooper Strasser. Devin Pickett singled home Carter.
But the Miners struck for four tallies in the second inning to take the lead for good.
Whisner singled but was forced by Brown. Johnson walked and Hardee doubled home the first run.
Gavin Williamson walked before Chris Leonardi’s liner was snared for the second out but the ball was thrown away trying for a double play at first base. That scored Johnson and advanced runners to set up Jones’ single that scored courtesy runner Josh Miller and Williamson.
The Miners added two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth on Johnson’s liner — his third homer of the summer — that shot past the center fielder, smacked the fence, careened to the left and crazily hugged the barrier while pursued by the fielder.
Right-handers Johnson, who started, and Brett Graham each worked two innings for the Miners in Game 2. They permitted three hits.
The Miners rapped 14 hits with Ash and Graham each getting three and Jones and Johnson two apiece. Johnson drove in four tallies and Ash three.