The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

June 16, 2012

Joplin Miners sweep Monett

— Gavin Jones drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday in the Joplin Miners’ 2-1 victory against Monett in the first game of an American Legion baseball doubleheader at Joe Becker Stadium.

Joplin scored 11 runs in the fourth inning and won the second game 15-5.

Jones’ hit ended a pitching duel between Kyle Robbins of Monett and Keith Simpson of Joplin. Robbins allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out six, while Simpson allowed seven hits, walked none and struck out three.

“Games like that are always fun, intense,” said Simpson, who was 6-for-7 at the plate in the two games. “Hopefully, we won’t get into those situations where we have to fight back after a four-run first inning.”

Monett led 5-0 in the second game before the Miners rallied with a run in the second inning, three runs in the third inning and 11 in the fourth inning.

“We gave up four unearned runs in the first inning,” said Joplin head coach Bobby Stackhouse. “It could have been one of those things where, well, we won game one. Then we battled back and had that big inning.”

Rex Whisner began the 11-run inning with a bunt single. Although the Miners were aided by two Monett errors, Simpson had two hits and four RBI in the inning, including a two-run, bases-loaded single, and Tyler Russell had an RBI double.

The game ended when Joplin turned a triple play in the top of the fifth inning. After Monett’s Sean Goostree tripled to right-center field, a hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases for Musick, who lined out to Miners third baseman Brett Graham.

Graham threw to second baseman Hank Millard for the second out, and Millard completed the triple play with a toss to first baseman Josh Miller. Caleb Garton was the winning pitcher.

In the first game, Millard, as a pinch hitter, led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to right field. Whisner, who was attempting to sacrifice, was hit by a pitch, and Bryce Ash beat out a bunt single down the third-base line.

Jones then slapped an opposite-field single to right field that drove in Millard with the winning run.

“That was a big bunt,” Stackhouse said. “He (Ash) tried to bunt down the first-base line the first time, it went foul and they overplayed it. Then he bunted down the third-base line. That was a smart play.”

The Miners took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Ash, who was 2-for-2 with a walk, was hit by a pitch, stole second base and scored on Simpson’s two-out single to center field.

Monett tied the score in the third inning on a leadoff single by Musick, who advanced to second on Chase Cantwell’s sacrifice, moved to third on a single by Pate Powell and scored on Nicky Roberts’ sacrifice fly.

Jordan Savage and Josh Steward followed with back-to-back singles that loaded the bases, but Simpson ended the threat by striking out Robbins.

Monett left runners stranded at third base in the fourth and sixth innings, while Joplin left a runner at third in the fifth inning and missed an opportunity to score in the sixth after Simpson and Tristan Ash singled with none out.

“You hear about clutch hitting,” Stackhouse said. “There was some clutch pitching working out of jams.”

Joplin, 11-7 overall and 4-0 in district play, faces Nevada in a doubleheader at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Joe Becker Stadium.

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