Jefferson City (Mo.) resident slams two home runs as DH, equals team record for consecutive hits in 16-14 triumph at Joplin
JOPLIN, Mo. — A never-a-dull-moment Chillicothe Mudcats road trip to southwest Missouri made more history Sunday.
The second-highest-scoring game in team history and the highest scoring victory saw Gaven Strobel, serving as designated hitter, equal the Mud-cats record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit (six) and slam two home runs – including one that finally stood up as the winning run – as the Fish fended off determined Joplin 16-14 in 11 innings.
After Chillicothe could not protect leads of 5-1 in the fourth inning, 6-2 in the fifth, 9-4 in the seventh, 13-10 in the ninth, and 14-13 in the 10th, Strobel powered the ball over the left field fence at downtown Joplin’s Joe Becker Stadium with one out and the bases empty in the 11th to push the Mudcats back in front one last time.
Although teammate Peyton Cormane would turn a 2-outs walk into a welcomed insurance run via two stolen bases and fellow infielder Dalton Robison’s single, Strobel’s stroke would provide the necessary margin when Derrek Trickel, Chillicothe’s sixth pitcher of the game, became the contest’s only hurler not to be scored against. He retired the next three batters after allowing a leadoff single to the first batter he faced in the 11th, saving it for Hayden House (1-1).
Strobel was joined in going deep by Chillicothe’s own Derek Hussey, who unexpectedly muscled up with a man on in a 4-runs ninth to give the visitors a 13-10 lead that was wiped out by the host Outlaws’ Zack Ehlen with a 2-outs, 3-runs homer off Jack Cavanaugh in the bottom of the ninth. Hussey’s blast was one of three hits he had on the evening. He also drove in three runs.
Strobel bookended his performance as DH with circuit clouts, tagging Joplin starter Hunter Huckabee for a 2-runs poke in the top of the first inning after consecutive doubles by Cole Taylor and Nate Gawelko had given the Fish a quick lead.
Having doubled and singled twice in his last three at-bats as the team’s catcher the night before, Strobel backed up his 4-bagger Sunday with a double in the third inning and, after walking in the fifth, another double to ignite the team’s 3-runs seventh which seemed to put them comfortably in control at 9-4.
That blow gave him hits in six official at-bats in a row, becoming only the 10th player in team history to do so – it happened twice in the first two weeks of the team’s inaugural season in 2002 – and the first since Tyler Duplantis in 2012.
Unknowingly with a chance to eclipse the shared team standard when he batted again in the eighth inning, the Jefferson City (Mo.) resident who plays at the University of Central Missouri was struck out. He drew a second base on balls in the ninth before making it seven hits in eight at-bats with his game-winning long ball in the 11th.
Although Cormane (Pineville, La./Centenary College in La.) did not enter the game until the ninth inning, he figured very prominently in the result.
Pinch-hitting to lead off the Chillicothe ninth after Joplin’s Kaleb Delatorre had stunned the Mudcats with a 3-runs homer in the eighth for a 10-9 lead, Cormane singled and stole two bases before scoring on Nico Burgarello’s hit to left to tie the game.
Leading off again in the 10th, he got on on an error and again scored on a Burgarello single, giving the visitors a 14-13 edge.
After Joplin tied it again, but left the bases loaded in the home 10th, Cormane third and fourth swipes led to some extra cushion for Trickel, who earned his first save after gaining his first win in last Thursday’s 14-innings win over the Ozark Generals.
Statistically, their hitting woes against MINK League North Division pitching – they were 2-hit and 1-hit in their last two games against North foes – at least temporarily solved by an extended dose of South Division twirling, the Mudcats erupted for 22 hits in Sunday’s 11 innings. Burgarello and Robison joined Hussey in having three hits each to support Strobel’s four and Jared Fry joined Hussey and Strobel in driving in three runs. Strobel finished the game owning a .450 batting average thus far.
Joplin piled up 16 hits itself, four by Delatorre, who boosted his average to .417, and three by Ehlen. Each of them drove in five runs.
Each team made two errors.
Chillicothe improved to 3-8 overall and 3-7 in the MINK League. Joplin fell to 2-7 and 1-7, respectively, heading into Monday’s series finale. Both still are in last place in their respective divisions.
Chillicothe returns home after Monday’s contest and has Tuesday off before going to Jefferson City Wednesday and Thursday as its slated stretch of 11 consecutive games against South Division foes continues.