By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin Miners, on a roll in the American Legion baseball games used to determine seedings for the postseason District 15 Tournament, couldn’t pull off the sweep against McDonald County Post 392 at Anderson on Tuesday night.
The Miners, garnering 16 hits, held off McDonald County 12-10 before losing 6-4. Brett Graham drove in five runs for the Miners in the first contest.
“We bounced back in the second game after coming back to make it competitive in the opener,” Post 392 coach Nick Martin said on Thursday.
“Dagan Stites did a good job as the starter in the second game. He kept them off balance. That first game became a little sloppy (11 total errors),” Martin said. “We had the one bad inning (a six-run second inning by the Miners). We did compete, however.”
Said Joplin coach Drew Schulte: “We again hit the ball very well. We made some mistakes and they capitalized on those mistakes.”
Joplin scored two runs in the seventh inning to take a three-run lead at 12-9 and left-hander Rex Whisner finished to save the game for right-hander Tristan Ash.
Blake Brown, a right-hander, also hurled for the Miners in the first contest.
Whisner secured the last out in the sixth inning before finishing, Schulte said.
“Rex (Whisner) did the job.” Schulte said. “Those two runs in the seventh inning gave us a cushion.”
The Miners, in the first game, received three hits from Brown, Whisner, Graham and Gavin Jones. Johnny Maturino added two hits.
Graham hit a grand slam to key the second inning. Brown, who hit a solo homer in the third inning, and Jones each had two RBI.
Jake Wilkie had two hits for Post 392 in the opener.
The right-handed Stites brothers — Dagan and Dakota — allowed five Joplin hits — Graham hit a solo homer — in the second game.
Dagan, who’ll be a sophomore at McDonald County High School, picked up the win and senior Dakota notched the save.
Joplin (21-6, 6-2) resumes with a 5 p.m. doubleheader today against visiting Cassville at Wendell Redden Stadium. McDonald County (3-7 in district) will entertain Webb City Post 322 at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Schulte said right-hander Caleb Garton is the probable starting pitcher in the 5 p.m. game.