By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
No. 1 seed Joplin didn’t have control until the final inning in beating Monett 12-5 in the winners’ bracket final of the Missouri District 15 AAA American Legion Tournament on Thursday.
A six-run eighth inning expanded a tenuous 6-5 lead against second-seeded Post 91 at Webb City Post 322.
The three-game session opened with McDonald County Post 392 ousting the Carthage Merchants 6-3 in sweltering heat in the first losers’ bracket game of the five-team event.
Post 322, amassing 16 hits, eliminated McDonald County 8-3 in the losers’ bracket to cap the session on Thursday night.
Today’s session starts at 4 p.m. — shoved back three hours from the original schedule — with Monett meeting Webb City in the losers’ final.
Joplin will face the winner at 7 p.m. in the championship round. A second game, if necessary, will be played at noon on Saturday.
The champion will advance to the zone playoffs next week at Carthage.
Joplin 12, Monett 5
The Miners’ Keith Simpson, robbed of a hit in his first at-bat by third baseman Tyler Musick, responded by rattling four hits around Barnes Field to lead a 13-hit attack.
Said Joplin coach Bobby Stackhouse: “We battled back from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits against a good pitcher in (right-hander) Sean Goostree
“We executed in that five-run fourth inning. We did the little things. We battled at the plate. We executed a squeeze bunt for a run (by Chris Leonardi). We bunted for a hit. It all turned into a big inning.”
Said Monett coach Michael Calhoun: “Joplin, of course, beat us fair and square and we aren’t taking anything away from its performance. But we didn’t execute. We also had base-running mistakes and, late in the game, we made some errors.”
Caleb Garton hurled 6 1/3 innings to notch the victory for the Miners. Fellow right-hander Blake Brown didn’t allow a hit in picking up the save.
“Brown has been pitching well in recent games,” Stackhouse said. “He keeps the ball down and gets ground balls.”
Leonardi, Bryce Ash and Tristan Ash each added two hits for the Miners. Gavin Jones had a single and three walks.
Goostree had three doubles among four hits for Post 91. Dillon Bunch and Kyle Robbins added two hits apiece.
Stackhouse said right-hander Bryce Ash is tonight’s probable starter for the Miners.
McDonald County 6, Carthage 3
Post 392, snapping a 2-2 tie, scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Cooper Underwood and Jake Wood each had two-run singles in the decisive inning for the winner.
Tanner Grab, who didn’t allow a hit until the Merchants’ fifth inning that was capped by Keaton Giett’s two-run single, and fellow lefty Trenton Frazier combined to hold Carthage to five hits.
Frazier, the winner, tossed four innings. He allowed an unearned run, allowed three hits, struck out three and walked two.
Mason Goade singled solidly to center for the first Carthage safety. Grab allowed two hits and struck out six in his stint.
Frazier also had three hits for Post 392 and Zack Peck drove in two runs. Goade had two Carthage hits.
Webb City 8, McDonald County 3
Gunnar Friend hurled six innings and Klay James had four hits as Post 322 ousted Post 392.
Devin Pickett added two hits and three RBI for Webb City. Gage Belcher had three hits and Richie Peoples a pair of safeties.
Fellow right-hander Trenton Moeller finished on the mound for Webb City to notch the save..
McDonald County received two hits apiece from Peck and Dagen Stites.
Webb City snapped a 2-2 deadlock by scoring two runs in the last of the fifth inning.