By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Joplin American Legion baseball coach Drew Schulte would have liked winning three of four games, or a sweep, against the visiting Three Rivers Bandits last weekend.
But a 2-2 effort by the Miners left Schulte satisfied.
“It was a successful weekend,” Schulte said Monday after Sunday’s exchange of 4-2 decisions in Wendell Redden Stadium at the Joplin Athletic Complex. “We played well overall in those four games. We faced some good hitters and pitchers.”
Joplin actually launched its weekend slate by rallying for a 12-11 win at Carthage on Friday night.
Three Rivers, representing Muskogee (Okla.) Post 213, won Sunday’s first game before Joplin, keyed by a three-run fifth inning, claimed the second seven-inning contest.
The Miners, 15-4 overall, resume today with a 5:30 p.m. doubleheader at Grove. Joplin visits Webb City Post 322 in Missouri District 15 at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Added Schulte: “We beat, in that second game on Sunday, perhaps the best pitcher we’ve faced all season.”
Joplin, trailing 2-1, struck in the fifth inning of Game 2 on a single by Johnny Maturino, a walk to Gavin Williamson, a run-scoring single by Chris Leonardi, a two-out, RBI-double by Brett Graham, a walk to Tristan Ash and a single by Colton Johnson.
A walk to Leonardi, a passed ball and a double by Graham provided Joplin its first tally in the third inning.
Right-hander Austin Zengel worked six innings against the Bandits. He allowed three hits and struck out two. Left-hander Rex Whisner tossed a hitless seventh for the save.
Tyler Fancher, a right-hander, took the loss for Joplin in Game 1. Fancher was solid, Schulte said, in permitting just five safeties.
Joplin, trailing 3-0, scored its runs in the fifth inning. Blake Brown doubled in a singling Maturino for the first run and, after a pass to Leonardi, a fielder’s choice by Gavin Jones plated Brown.
Schulte said right-hander Caleb Garton is today’s probable starting pitcher for Joplin in the first game.