JOPLIN — Former Neosho High standout and Joplin Outlaws left fielder Colton Marion enjoyed a dynamite first six innings Saturday night in MINK League play against the Chillicothe Mudcats at historic Joe Becker Stadium.
At the time, after his first two-bats, Marion raised his batting average 150 points from .100 (1 for 10) to .250 (3-12) with a single and a double.
In a game ultimately decided by one run, Marion arguably made the biggest play of the night from left field.
Let’s set the scenario just a little bit.
The Mudcats lead 2-0 in the top of the fourth, having scored their runs on a two-run home run by Nick Ray in the second.
With two outs in the fourth, Gavin Strobel starts a potential rally with a double and that’s when Marion played hero on a Dalton Robison hit.
Marion charged Robison’s ball fast and furiously and came up throwing on a Strobel sent home. Marion threw a perfect strike and Outlaws catcher Alex Wheeler made the tag for the third out.
Chillicothe would eventually take a 4-0 lead after single runs in the sixth and seventh, but Joplin rallied with four in the eighth and one in the ninth for the thrilling 5-4 win.
Joplin earned its first win in MINK League play and improved to 2-6 overall with back-to-back wins following six straight losses to start the season.
Marion finished the night 2-4 at the plate and improved his average 114 points. Maybe this will spark Marion going forward the rest of the season.
Zack Ehlen, Kaleb DeLaTorre, Andruw McKenzie, and Kyle Clark rounded out Joplin’s six-hit attack and DeLaTorre and Clark combined for five of the Outlaws’ six walks, three for the former and two for the latter who showed a keen eye Saturday night.
The Outlaws started their four-run eighth with consecutive walks by Joseph Kinder and Clark, then an Ehlen single loaded the bases. Kinder scored when Blake Wynn took one for the team, Clark and Ehlen scored on pitcher Ricky Espinoza’s error, and Wynn scored on a wild pitch.
In the ninth, the Outlaws wasted little time going for the win. McKenzie led off with a single, Kinder’s bunt put McKenzie in scoring position, and Clark promptly hit a two-strike game-winning single.
Outlaws reliever Quest Mock (undoubtedly one of the great names of the MINK League) earned the win in relief, allowing one run (earned) on one hit over three innings and he finished with two strikeouts and three walks.
Outlaws starter Zach Parish, a Tahlequah (Oklahoma) native who attends Missouri Southern, took a no-decision with three runs allowed (all earned) on five hits over six innings. Parish struck out seven and walked three. Parish has 12 strikeouts and four walks over his first 12 innings this season.
Joplin’s extended homestand continued Sunday night against the same Chillicothe squad. The teams entered their weekend set with the worst records in the MINK League.