ANDERSON, Mo. — Joplin baseball traveled to McDonald County for a pair of Saturday games that saw the Eagles beat the Mustangs 2-1 before JHS fell to West Plains 13-5.
JOPLIN 2, MCDONALD COUNTY 1
Joplin (8-2) and McDonald County played to a scoreless tie through two and a half innings before the Mustangs loaded the bases with one out in the last of the third inning after Jack Parnell was hit by a pitch, which was followed by walks to Cole Martin and Destyn Dowd. McDonald County’s Levi Helm pushed the first run across after grounding into a fielder’s choice out at second, scoring Parnell to make the score 1-0.
After failing to reach the scoreboard through the first five innings, Joplin found some life offensively in the top of the sixth when Bodee Carlson led off the frame with a single to left field.
Joplin’s Kohl Cooper stepped up to the plate and blasted the second pitch he saw over the wall in right field for a go-ahead two-run home run, giving the Eagles a 2-1 advantage—a lead they never relinquished.
“I just went up there with the thought of, ‘If he grooves me one, just take a nice easy cut and hit it where it’s pitched,’” Cooper said.
When asked if he knew it was gone when it left the bat, Cooper smiled before his reply.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah,” he said. “It was one of the best feelings in the world. I have to give all glory to God on that one.”
“I had a decision to make with my three-hole hitter who has swung it well all year,” Joplin coach Kyle Wolf said. “Do you bunt the guy to second and move him into scoring position or let him hit? Ultimately, with the feel of the day, I thought one good swing might give us a chance, and Kohl was the right guy at the plate to give us that swing.”
Cooper also started on the bump and took a no-decision after allowing just one run on one hit, four walks and nine strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
“Kohl threw really well,” Wolf said. “It’s really just his second high school start and I thought he did a good job of staying down in the zone aside for one inning. … He came up with some big pitches in big situations. When I went out there to pull him, I told him he put us in a position to win this game, and that’s all you can ask from your starter. I thought he did really well and the confidence is growing in what he can do for us all season long.”
Josh Harryman came in and provided 2 2/3 scoreless relief innings to earn the win. He didn’t allow a hit or a walk and struck out three.
“Every time I put him in, I drop the ball in his glove and tell him this is what you live for,” Wolf said. “He has really come up big in some big situations. … Josh has been a very good reliever for us.”
Cooper had a team-high two RBI and a run scored to go along with his homer to lead Joplin at the plate. Fielding Campbell, Carlson, Alex Curry, Kirk Chandler and Kyler Stokes all recorded hits for the Eagles.
Helm had the lone hit and lone RBI for McDonald County.
WEST PLAINS 13, JOPLIN 5
West Plains scored four runs in the first two innings before eventually building a 10-2 lead through five and a half.
Joplin scored three times in the sixth to cut the deficit to five, but the Zizzers answered with three runs of their own in the seventh to provide insurance en route to the win.
Caleb Hawkins earned the win for West Plains after allowing four runs on four hits, three walks and a strikeout in five innings.
Fielding Campbell took the loss after surrendering four runs on eight hits and a strikeout in four innings. Justin McReynolds allowed nine runs on 11 hits, a walk and seven strikeouts,
Haidan Barnard doubled and had three hits, two RBI and a run scored. Hayden Bryant doubled and tripled, had three hits, drove in two and scored three times. Colby Hoover went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
David Fiscus hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, while Fielding Campbell finished with one hit and one RBI, a run-scoring single in the fifth. Kirk Chandler and Kyler Stokes had a hit and an RBI each. Stokes also scored a run.
Joplin is at Webb City for a 4:30 matchup on Thursday.