A night after having its seven-game win streak snapped by Ozark, the Joplin Outlaws appeared to be on the cusp of dropping a second straight game as they faced a 10-1 deficit against the Jefferson City Renegades at Joe Becker Stadium.
“I think a lot of teams might have thrown in the towel at that point,” Joplin outfielder Alec Capshaw said. “But one thing about this team is we don’t like to give up.”
And they didn’t back down on Tuesday night.
Despite falling into a nine-run hole by the middle of the fifth inning, the Outlaws stormed back with 10 unanswered runs to claim an 11-10 triumph over MINK League foe Jefferson City.
The win improved Joplin’s season record to 17-14 overall and 11-13 in league play and also brought it to within 11/2 games of South Division frontrunner Ozark in the league standings.
“When we got down like we did, I thought we were done and were going to get run-ruled based off of our body language,” Joplin coach Danny Weaver said. “Our at-bats were terrible in those middle innings. But then, kind of out of nowhere, we started to get hot.”
It started with Capshaw, who ignited the comeback with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. And in the next inning, Capshaw contributed a two-run double during a six-run sixth that cut the deficit to 10-9.
“We knew we had to just keep chipping away if we wanted to get back into the game,” Capshaw said. “There’s no such thing as a nine-run play. So you just take it one at-bat at a time.”
Joplin pulled even with Jefferson City in the seventh after Ryan Lorber, who drew a leadoff walk, stole third base and then advanced to home on a throwing error by Renegades catcher Austin Fennewald.
Then in the eighth frame, Joplin took its first lead as Donovan Sutti drove in David Butterfield from second on a single hit up the middle.
“Singles and doubles are how we got back into the game — guys hitting balls in the gaps and then being aggressive on the bases,” Weaver said. “Then I thought our bullpen did a great job coming in and shutting them down.”
The Joplin pitching staff limited Jefferson City to no runs and just one hit in the final four innings after surrendering 10 runs and six hits in the first five.
However, finishing the game in the top of the ninth proved to be a roller-coaster ride for Joplin closer Damian Acosta, who gave up two walks and a single to load the bases with just one out. But the Garden City Community College product worked his way out of the jam, retiring back-to-back batters with a pop out to shallow center and a game-ending strikeout.
“You’ve got to commend him because that’s a really tough spot to be in, especially when the bases are loaded and everybody’s running on a full count during the final pitch,” Weaver said. “He put himself in a pretty difficult situation. But he’s a gamer, and he showed that tonight.”
Tyler Gum picked up the win for the Outlaws after tossing two shutout innings and surrendering zero hits. Austin Neal followed suit and pitched a scoreless frame in the eighth.
The Outlaws finished with 13 hits and were led by Capshaw and Sutti, who tallied three hits apiece with four and two RBI, respectively. Zach Ehlen registered a pair of hits and two RBI.
The Outlaws wrap up their series with Jefferson City at 7 p.m. tonight at Joe Becker Stadium.