The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

June 28, 2012

Defensive gem helps Outlaws clip Nevada

Taylor Eaves made a game-saving play behind third base with two outs in the eighth inning of the Joplin Outlaws’ 5-3 victory against Nevada in a MINK League game Thursday night at Wendell Redden Stadium.

Eaves, who was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, made a back-handed stop behind the bag with runners at first and second and two out. His throw was to the home-plate side of first base, but Kyle Dickens tagged out John Acenzia and ended the threat.

“He hit it down the line. I knew it was going to be a tough play,” said Eaves, who will be a senior this fall at the University of Arkansas-Monticello. “Then it hit the bag, and that made it even tougher.

“Just from doing it a long time, it was instincts,” he said. “I trusted my first baseman to make the play.”

The victory was the fourth in a row for the Outlaws, 14-12 overall and 12-12 in the league. Joplin will play a doubleheader at 6 p.m. today at St. Joseph.

The Outlaws led 4-1 going into the eighth inning behind the pitching of Travis Northern, who allowed one run on five hits in seven innings.  He struck out six, and the only batter he walked — Parker McDaniel with out in the fifth inning — scored after back-to-back singles by Brad Wilson and A.J. Krist.

Brad Wilson drew a leadoff walk in the eighth against Outlaws reliever Ethan Mather. Wilson stole second and, with two out, scored on Patrick Kregeloh’s single to center field.

Josh Samuelson walked before Mather got out of the inning with the help of Eaves’ defensive play at third base.

“Taylor has been an all-around player for us this summer,” said Outlaws head coach Rob Vessell. The guys look up to him. He’s a lot of fun to watch.

“Offensively, last night (a 13-7 victory against Sedalia) carried over into tonight. We executed well and had good pitching. It was a good team win.”

In the ninth inning, the Griffons loaded the bases on three hits, then Wilson forced in a run with a walk before Mather ended the game by striking out two of the last three batters he faced.

The Outlaws took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. No. 9 hitter Jimmy Obermark led off with a triple into the right-field corner and scored on Zack Steadman’s grounder to second base. Dickens then drew a walk, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on Eaves’ single to right field.

“I’m getting into the groove, starting to see the ball well,” said Obermark, who was 2-for-3, scored two runs and stole two bases. “We go into every game with a lot of focus, but they’re the No. 1 team and it gets a little more fire under us. It helps to keep the streak going.”

The Outlaws took a 4-1 lead with two runs in the fifth inning. Steadman’s triple to right-center field drove in Obermark, who had singled with one out and stole second. Steadman scored on a ground ball by Dickens.

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