The Joplin Outlaws will have to wait until at least Monday to capture their elusive first home win of the season.
Their attempt on Saturday night was hindered by a pair of big offensive innings put together by defending MINK League champion Sedalia, which ran away with an 11-3 victory in a weather-shortened league opener at Joe Becker Stadium.
Joplin (2-2), which fell 8-7 to the Midwest Nationals in its home opener on Friday night, has now dropped back-to-back games at Joe Becker after starting the campaign with a pair of road wins.
“That’s now two nights in a row that we took an early lead and had it slip away from us in the second inning,” Joplin coach Danny Weaver said. “I think it’s a little bit of a lack of focus probably. So we just have to throw more strikes, make more plays and figure out how to avoid giving up those big innings, because that seems to be hurting us the most right now.”
Zack Ehlen gave the Outlaws their early lead on Saturday by taking home on a throwing error in the bottom of the first. But the Bombers answered immediately in the top of the second, plating six runs on six hits, one walk and one error.
After Donovan Sutti trimmed Sedalia’s lead to 6-2 with an RBI single in the bottom of the third, the Bombers’ offense erupted again in the fourth with five runs on two hits and five walks.
The Sedalia offense finished with nine hits and was gifted 10 free passes on the night.
“We’ve had a few problems with walking guys in the last two nights,” Weaver said. “It’s been a little bit weird that one of our guys will come out and dominate one inning and then struggle to hit the zone in the very next inning. So it’s about consistency and getting in the zone early. When we start doing that and getting ahead in counts, we’re going to be more effective.”
Freilin Cabrera led off Joplin’s sixth with an infield single and later scored from third on an errant throw on a pickoff attempt, trimming the deficit to 11-3.
But following a scoreless seventh, the game was suspended and eventually called due to a line of thunderstorms approaching the ballpark.
“It would have been good for us to play this one out and see what we could do in those final two innings or so, but we also shouldn’t have let ourselves get in that big of a hole,” Weaver said. “All we can do is regroup and get back on track when we get back here on Monday.”
The Outlaws tallied five hits and were led by Ehlen, who went 2-for-3 and scored once. Sutti was 1-for-1 with one RBI and one walk while Cabrera and Brendon Timmons also logged one hit.
The Bombers were paced by Nick Hagedorn, who went 3-for-5 with one double, four RBI and two runs scored.
Sedalia starting pitcher Justin Root, a righty for Pittsburg State, picked up the win after limiting Joplin to two earned runs on four hits in five innings. Garrett Morrow tossed the final two innings for the Bombers and surrendered one earned run on one hit.
Joplin returns to MINK League play on Monday as it opens a three-game series with St. Joseph at 7 p.m. at Joe Becker Stadium.