The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 8, 2013

Outlaws drop home finale to Tulsa

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— Jordan Cumpson’s two-run single highlighted a three-run seventh inning as the Tulsa Braves defeated the Joplin Outlaws 8-6 in the Outlaws’ last home game of the season Sunday at Joe Becker Stadium.

The Outlaws led 6-4 when the Braves loaded the bases in the seventh with a single, a walk and a hit batsman. Buddy Shanks forced in a run when he was hit by a pitch before Cumpson’s single to left gave the Braves a 7-6 lead.

The Outlaws threatened but left seven runners on base in the last three innings.

“They had the key hits,” said Outlaws head coach Rob Vessell. “We had plenty of chances. We just didn’t get the key hits when we needed them.”

Tyler Rolland, who was 5-for-5 and drove in two runs with a double and a solo home run, led the Braves’ 13-hit attack.

The Outlaws (12-21, 10-20 MINK) are off until a doubleheader at 6 p.m. Thursday at Clarinda, Iowa, that marks the beginning of an 12-game season-ending road trip.

Outlaws designated hitter and leadoff batter Zac Stewart was 3-for-5, drove in a run and scored a run. As a freshman last spring at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., Stewart broke the school record for appearances as a relief pitcher.

“It was just at Harding we had three senior outfielders and a juco All-American,” said Stewart, who said he hopes to compete for a spot in the outfield this fall. “I was originally going to be a pitcher here, but (assistant coach Don Lisi) knows me from back home and he knew I could hit.

“Summer ball is just about getting ready for the fall,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be a fun and competitive fall, for sure.”

The Outlaws, trailing 4-3, scored three runs in the sixth inning after two outs. Colton Krokroskia drew a walk, advanced to second on Stewart’s infield single and scored on Koby Chadick’s single to center.

Max Ayoub followed with a triple into left-center field that scored Stewart and Chadick as the Outlaws took a 6-4 lead.

“I just try to find a way to first base because I can swipe second and score from two,” said Krokroskia, an outfielder at Emporia State who played high school ball in Baxter Springs.

“I’ve always kept up to date with the Outlaws,” he said. “I thought it would be very convenient to be part of a good program and stay close to home.”

The Outlaws took a 1-0 lead in the second on Matt Turner’s double down the right-field line that scored Nick Moore, who drew a two-out walk. After the Braves scored twice in the third, Kyle Dickens tied the score in the bottom of the inning when he drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded.

The Outlaws then took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Stewart grounded a single into center field that scored Moore, who led off the inning with a single.

Matt Hasenbeck, who pitched the first three innings, was the first of five Outlaws pitchers.

Vessell expressed his appreciation for the support the Outlaws have had this summer.

“To have all the crowds come out, it has been very enjoyable to watch,” he said. “The ownership of the Outlaws has done a great job promoting our games. I can’t say enough good things about them.”