In what was a roller coaster nine innings, a rocky St. Joseph Mustangs team fell to the sputtering but persistent Jefferson City Renegades.
The Renegades topped the Mustangs 8-4 on Thursday at Phil Welch Stadium.
It was a bit of a role reversal over the course of the game, as the Mustangs, who generally excel with smart base-running and walks, outhit Jefferson City but ultimately came up with fewer runs.
Despite the team’s disappointing end, Joshua Lincoln feels confident in the team’s ability to win their series against Jefferson City.
“We beat them three times down in Jeff City, and by a lot of runs,” Lincoln said. “This game was just a series of mistakes that we’ll prevent, so I’m feeling good about the next few games.”
It’s the first of a three-game series at Phil Welch for the teams.
Starting the game off, Mustangs pitcher Joshua Monson turned in what may have been the game’s best individual performance for his team’s side. Allowing only two hits and one run through six innings, he helped the Mustangs to what appeared to be a promising early lead.
Jacob Richardson struck first for the Mustangs in the bottom of the second, stealing second before running in on a Kaleb Reed double dropped between two Renegades outfielders.
The third would be the inning with the team’s most offensive production. The Mustangs made Jefferson City’s infield look silly, as an attempted pickoff on Brady Anderson would ultimately lead to the Mustangs catcher safe on second base. It allowed for Joshua Lincoln to sneak in for a run. A Colton Pogue double on the next at-bat would run Anderson in.
Lincoln also would score a run in the bottom of the fifth, and with a 4-1 lead headed into the seventh, the Mustangs substituted Colton Kenagy after a strikeout pitched by Monson after the first at-bat of the inning.
This proved to be the beginning of the end for the Mustangs.
With two outs, the Mustangs began walking Renegade batters and with the bases loaded, a strike to deep left by Jefferson City designated hitter Cole Evans scored two runs. Another run would be scored with the next at-bat, and Kenagy would be replaced. But the damage had been done, and the Mustangs’ relief pitchers couldn’t provide much relief.
Though the Renegades would score another four runs in the next inning, Lincoln felt there was nothing on display that couldn’t be corrected in the future.
“Nothing really changed. We just couldn’t throw those strikes, we had a few guys walked who we couldn’t afford to be walked,” he said. “It’s something to cut down on in the future for sure but we normally do a good job of preventing that.”
With the Mustangs down four in the bottom of the ninth, they needed a miracle to pull their team back from the edge. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, that miracle would not rear its head and the Renegades’ Peyton Pocock would pitch a perfect inning to put the Mustangs away.