The Joplin Outlaws suffered their first loss of the season, 8-5, at the hands of the St. Joe Mustangs on Monday, which came with a bit of controversy, in MINK League action at Joe Becker Stadium.
Joplin trailed 7-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Pittsburg native Brett Wiemers singled to lead off the inning followed by a double to right-center by Brandon Ulmer and a walk from Cam Pfafman to load the bases with no outs.
After a St. Joe pitching change, Joplin’s Jack Mettam hit a chopper to the pitcher, who threw home for the force out. The throw from the catcher to first was overthrown, which would have allowed a minimum of one run to score, but Mettam was called out for interference, a judgement call, by the home plate umpire. With boos raining down from the home crowd, Outlaws manager Chris Dawson was eventually ejected from the game after voicing his displeasure with the controversial call. The final out of the inning was made in the next at-bat, ending the last real threat Joplin had of climbing back to tie the game.
“We had just that one hiccup there in the (third) inning pitching wise but from the fourth on, we put up zeros for the most part,” Joplin assistant coach Wade Satzinger said. “We did a pretty good job of fighting and continuing to come back. I think that is what you are going to see this team do the rest of the year—be resilient. With the call (at first), sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. At the end of the day, you just have to keep moving forward and try to get something going at the end.”
“That is something that didn’t go our way and killed the big inning and a big rally for us,” Satzinger added about the interference call. “At the end of the day, it is what it is. We still had a couple of more innings to make something happen. It’s under review and appeal, so whatever happens happens. We still have to try to find a way to finish a game there.”
The Outlaws have officially protested the game.
St. Joe used two-out magic to take an early lead against Joplin. After Brady Holden singled with one out, Jaxon Himell put the Mustangs on top after launching a two-out, two-run home run to left field on the first pitch of the at-bat in the top of the first inning.
The Outlaws wasted little time responding, as Logan Cline singled up the middle to score Drake Angeron to trim the deficit in half, 2-1, in the bottom of the first frame. Angeron had an infield hit before moving to second on the same play via throwing error. Later in the inning, Wiemers doubled to left-center with runners on second and third and two outs to give the Outlaws a 3-2 lead.
“We have the ability to drive the ball well,” Satzinger said of the team’s offense. “Once we get on base, we can wreak havoc by taking extra bases and taking advantage of miscues. I think our speed is a really big advantage for us.”
St. Joe regained the lead in the top of the third after plating five runs on two hits, an error and two walks to lead 7-3. Himell started the scoring with a two-run single to right field before Ike Book drove home two with a single to right-center. The final run of the inning came home on an RBI groundout by Coleman Fenton.
Joplin trimmed the lead to three runs, 7-4, in the bottom of the third inning when Ethan Ellis doubled to left-center to score Cline, who walked to lead off the inning.
The Outlaws chipped away at the lead with another single tally in the bottom of the fifth inning when Jared Toler scored Cline from third with an RBI fielder’s choice to make the score 7-5.
ON THE MOUND
St. Joe’s Dawson Smith earned the win after giving up five runs, three earned, over five innings. He allowed eight hits, walked four and struck out four. Will Hahn pitched four scoreless relief innings to earn the save.
Josh Walpole took the loss for Joplin after allowing five runs on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts in two innings of work.
IN THE BOX
Ellis, Wiemers and Ulmer all doubled for the Outlaws. Cline had two hits, an RBI and scored two runs, while Ellis had two hits, scored once and drove in one. Weimers had two hits and two RBI.
Joplin hits the road for the first time this season with a 7 p.m. matchup at Nevada.