The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 9, 2013

Joplin Miners slip past Carl Junction to improve to 24-6

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— The Joplin Miners doubled their pleasure with just one win in American Legion baseball on Monday night.

The unwilling accomplice was Carl Junction Post 781.

Joplin won 3-1 in the nine-inning game — it was scheduled for nine rather than a 7 and 5 — at Wendell Redden Stadium in the Joplin Athletic Complex.

The Miners received strong pitching from right-hander Tyler Fancher and equally strong defense in hiking their record to 24-6 overall and 8-2 in games used to determine seedings for the postseason District 15 Tournament at McDonald County.

“It’s a big, big day,” Joplin coach Drew Schulte said. “The game also counted as the championship of the Carl Junction Tournament (postponed early in the season because of wet grounds).”

Thus the Miners carted off the plaque presented by Carl Junction.

Fancher, who’ll be a senior at Joplin High School, took a shutout into the ninth inning. He allowed six hits, struck out six, walked three and hit a batter.

Said Schulte: “Fancher, who was backed by an outstanding defense, was great. He kept the ball low. He competed, He told me he was going nine innings. Well, he went out there and backed it up.

“The Carl Junction pitchers also threw well,” Schulte said of right-handers Tyler Armentrout, who worked the first 5 2/3 innings, and Zach Beyer.

The Post 781 duo didn’t permit the Miners to land a bona fide knockout punch. The Miners stranded 11 runners.

Post 781, which was seeking a fourth district victory, is coached by Andrew Doennig, Flave Darnell and Mike Walker.

“This game basically was a battle of pitching (helped by errorless defense on both sides),” Doennig said.

Added Walker: “We had some rally killers — a pickoff and a couple of double plays.”

Joplin scored in the first inning on a single by shortstop Chris Leonardi, a sacrifice by center fielder Gavin Jones, an advancing roller by first baseman Brett Graham and a single by third baseman Tristan Ash.

The Miners made it 2-0 in the second inning on walks to designated hitter Colton Johnson, right fielder Blake Brown and catcher Tyson Hardee and a sacrifice fly by Leonardi (who had three singles).

Second baseman Johnny Maturino singled for the Miners in the sixth inning, swiped second and scored on Hardee’s single.

Carl Junction broke up the shutout in the ninth inning on a double by catcher Kurtlin Hulette and a two-out single by Beyer. But Fancher bounced back by securing a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch.

Jones and Leonardi, who also helped turn two infield double plays, authored fielding gems for the Miners.  Also, Hardee, in addition to picking off a runner, threw out another trying to steal.

Joplin visits Cassville Post 118 at 5 p.m. today with the right-handed Ash the probable starting pitcher in Game 1.

Carl Junction faces games at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday at Fort Scott Community College in the Pittsburg-Fort Scott Showcase.