What better way for the Joplin Outlaws to open MINK League baseball action than with a walk-off win in front of a packed home crowd on Thursday at Joe Becker Stadium?
After Joplin took an initial 3-0 lead, Des Moines fought back to tie things up twice and ultimately sent the game into the last of the ninth inning all tied at 4s. After Karson Green led off the inning reaching on an error, he moved to second when Caden Bressler was hit by a pitch two batters later to put runners on first and second with two outs in the inning. Kolton Reynolds, a Crowder Roughrider, came up with the big swing, ripping a single to left field to plate Green and send Joplin home with a 5-4 victory on opening night.
“Welcome back to Joplin, Missouri,” returning Joplin manager Chris Dawson said after the win. “It’s another all-team win. We have to clean some things up defensively, but it’s the first time—the first time guys are playing together, the first time seeing balls across the diamond, the first time hitting live pitching in a couple weeks for a lot of these guys and the first time using a wooden bat in a year. It was a lot of firsts, but we just have to get the hang of it.
“We had the guy up that we wanted. I was just praying for Bress to get on so Reynolds could get up. If you go look at his numbers at Crowder this year, they were incredible. … We were in the right part of the order and they just came through for us.”
ON THE MOUND
Steen Lane, a righty for Missouri Southern, earned the no-decision for Joplin after pitching five scoreless innings on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Will Isaly earned the win in relief for Joplin after walking one in one scoreless inning.
Doc Fullbright started and took the no-decision for Des Moines after allowing three runs, one earned, on two hits, four walks and five strikeouts in five innings of work. Parker Stewart took the loss in relief after allowing one unearned run on two hits in 2 2/3 of an inning.
Joplin took the initial lead with three runs scoring in the bottom of the first. The Outlaws’ first run came home on an RBI single to center field by William Kelley before a second run came home on a Peak Prospects’ error. The third run scored on a balk.
Des Moines threatened with a runner in scoring position in the second and two runners in scoring position in the third inning but came away empty handed. The Peak Prospects had runners on first and second with no outs in the fourth inning before Lane induced a 4-6-3 double play and a groundout to get out of the jam.
“Hats off to Steen Lane,” Dawson said. “That’s why we gave him the ball. He doesn’t do what he did for Missouri Southern a couple of weeks ago if he’s not that guy. He pitched around baserunners all night long and put up zero after zero when our offense stopped.”
Des Moines finally reached the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning, tying the game with three runs scoring. The first run came home on an RBI double from Colin Evers before two more runs came home later in the inning on a throwing error with two outs to tie the game at 3-all.
The momentum swing wasn’t permanent, as Joplin jumped back out in front in the bottom half of the sixth inning with Kelley coming home on a wild pitch for a 4-3 advantage.
Des Moines refused to go away, again bringing the tying run home in the top of the eighth in the form of a broken-bat RBI double by Bubba Thompson with a runner on second base that one-hopped the wall to tie game at 4-4.
AT THE PLATE
Reynolds had two hits, scored a run and drove in one. Kelley had a hit, scored twice and added an RBI. Webb City product and MSSU Lion Treghan Parker also had a hit and scored a run.
Carter Thomas had two hits and two RBI to lead Des Moines at the plate.
Joplin and Des Moines continue their three-game set with a 7 p.m. matchup on Friday at Joe Becker Stadium.