PITTSBURG, Kan. — In a pair of wild and crazy games decided in the final at-bat Sunday afternoon at Jaycee Ballpark, the Neosho 18s avoided a three-game losing streak and earned a split Sunday with a thrilling 9-8 win over the Pittsburg Dragons in the Wildcats’ final game of the showcase tournament hosted by Fort Scott Community College.

PITTSBURG, Kan. — In a pair of wild and crazy games decided in the final at-bat Sunday afternoon at Jaycee Ballpark, the Neosho 18s avoided a three-game losing streak and earned a split Sunday with a thrilling 9-8 win over the Pittsburg Dragons in the Wildcats’ final game of the showcase tournament hosted by Fort Scott Community College.
In Neosho’s opener Sunday, the Wichita Sluggers 16 and the Wildcats turned a 1-0 game entering the bottom of the seventh into a 7-6 win for the Sluggers in eight innings.
Neosho’s bottom of the eighth demonstrated how difficult it can be to get that final out sometimes.
Mason Ray enjoyed a big Sunday for Neosho.
In the opener, he finished 4 for 4 at the plate with a double, one run scored and one RBI. In the nightcap, Ray had a hit for his fifth of the doubleheader and he drove in the tying run on a groundout in the seventh.
On the mound, Ray took the loss in the opener, then he earned the win in the second game.
Incoming senior Clint Winchester continued his assault on pitching on Sunday.
Against the Sluggers of Wichita, Winchester proved to be a slugger himself with a three-run home run in the seventh giving Neosho a 6-1 lead. That was Winchester’s lone hit of the game and it was a no-doubter over left-center at historic Jaycee Ballpark, a field where Mickey Mantle homered.
Against the Dragons of Pittsburg, Winchester went hitless in one official at-bat but he worked three walks and scored three runs.
Winchester feasted on Kansas competition during the week — for example, he knocked a three-run homer and drove in four runs in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Girard and then drove in five more runs and homered again in the second half of that twinbill last Tuesday.
Over the week, Winchester drove in 13 runs.
In the split-earner Sunday, Neosho fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first as a pair of errors led directly to all three runs.
Neosho chipped away, however, at Pittsburg’s lead with a run in three straight innings, earning a 3-all score after three full.
Winchester worked the dreaded (or beloved) two-out walk in the first and after Winchester stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Jacob Galbraith brought Winchester home for a 3-1 game with a RBI single.
In the Neosho second, Cole Seward worked a leadoff walk, Ray reached on an error and Gavin Carpenter bunted his way on to load the bases. Then, with one down, Kaleb Moreland hit a sacrifice fly to score Seward, but Carpenter was thrown out at second.
Winchester worked his second walk and scored his second run in the Neosho third, coming home on an A.C. Marion sacrifice fly.
The lead changed hands four times from the top of the fifth on.
Pittsburg scored one in the fifth, then Neosho scored two in the sixth.
Seward again led off an inning with a walk, he advanced to third on a Ray single and scored for a 4-all score on a Carpenter sacrifice fly. Ray scored the go-ahead run on a Moreland groundout.
Pittsburg regained the lead with four runs in the top of the seventh, but Neosho responded with four of its own in the bottom half.
Winchester and Galbraith started the seventh with walks, then Marion reached on an error to load the bases. Two runs scored on another Pittsburg error, then the tying run scored on Ray’s groundout and winning run Seward bolted home on a wild pitch, an appropriate ending for a wild one at Jaycee.
In the opener, Moreland took a tough no-decision, allowing five runs on nine hits over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four, and lost a chance for a complete game shutout when the Sluggers tied it at 1 and forced extra innings. Moreland finished with 104 pitches.
In the sixth, Neosho cracked open a scoreless game for the first run. Carpenter reached second on an error and then scored on a two-out Ray single.
The Sluggers’ Easton Hunter worked a leadoff walk, but Moreland and the Wildcats picked up two outs with Hunter at second base. The Sluggers held Hunter at third on Nate Adler’s single, but Hunter scored on a Hayden Bontragger single.
In the top of the eighth, Carpenter started a Neosho rally with a single and scored on a Peyton Ezell single. Ray also singled and then scored on an error. Winchester closed out Neosho’s scoring with his three-run shot.
Moreland’s and Neosho’s troubles started in the eighth with a walk of Spencer Whitfield and then a walk of Gage Storm provided the Sluggers with two runners aboard.
The Sluggers scored all seven of their runs with two outs — Adler worked a bases loaded walk, Bontragger hit a RBI single, Nathan Klein a RBI single, and Dylan Hahn delivered the winning two-run single just out of the reach of Seward and Winchester in shallow center.
At the end of the day Sunday, Neosho emerged with a 10-4 overall record.
The Wildcats host McDonald County today and El Dorado Springs on Wednesday, then play Sunday in a showcase tournament hosted by Southwest Baptist in Bolivar.