The No. 20-ranked Crowder Roughriders began their final Region 16 series of the season with a doubleheader split Thursday against State Fair at Roughrider Field.
Crowder won the first game 3-2 with two runs late and State Fair earned the split with a 9-3 win.
The ‘Riders moved to 39-13 overall and 23-6 in Region 16 play entering a doubleheader Saturday in Sedalia. Crowder and Jefferson now have the same number of losses in Region 16 play.
In the first game Thursday, Crowder’s Zach Jackson and State Fair’s Jake McMahill dueled to the very end until the ‘Riders pushed across two in the bottom of the seventh for the dramatic victory.
On the first pitch of the inning, McMahill hit Luke Price, an omen of things to come. Cameron Witt hit a single and Kobe Morris worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases for the heart of the Crowder order with no outs. Frielin Cabrera reached and Price scored on an error, bases still loaded for No. 3 hitter Tyler Duncan. On his first pitch from McMahill, Duncan singled home Witt for the win and the team celebration around Duncan.
Crowder’s late rally preserved Jackson’s unbeaten record in the regular season, No. 29 improving to 11-0 overall this season. Jackson allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits over seven innings and he struck out nine and walked two. Jackson struck out State Fair in order in the top of the seventh and this seemed to spark Crowder’s offense in the bottom half.
In the loss, McMahill allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits over six innings and he struck out seven and walked four, including the one to load the bases in the seventh.
Duncan led Crowder offensively with two hits and two RBI, while Morris, Drew Reilly, Price, and Witt each had the other hits. Morris, Price, and Witt each scored the runs.
After turning a double play to end the Crowder second, State Fair came back to the plate and scored the first run in the next half-inning. With two outs, Chase Swisher reached on a bunt, Jackson hit Zack Ehlen with a pitch, and Swisher scored on a Tyler Crane single and subsequent Crowder error.
In the Crowder third, Morris worked a walk and scored on a Duncan two-out triple.
Once again turning a double play to end the Crowder fourth, State Fair took a 2-1 lead with a run in the fifth. Jackson hit leadoff man P.J. Esposito on the first pitch of the inning and Esposito advanced to second on a Derek Shikles sacrifice and then scored on an Ehlen single.
In the second game, State Fair established a different tone early on with three runs in the top of the first and the Roadrunners scored the game’s first seven runs en route to a six-run win.
Crowder managed three runs in the seventh and Morris and Cabrera each had RBI, but the Roadrunners scored two more runs in the eighth and reliever Conner Burnett shut the door on Crowder with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Crowder had 10 hits in the contest against starter Chase Plymell and Burnett, with two each for Morris, Cabrera, Denver Mullins, and Cooper King.
Meanwhile, State Fair also picked up 10 hits and received help from Crowder with six walks and three errors. Crowder worked four walks from State Fair, three from Plymell.
The ‘Riders had no extra base hits, while Gavin Jones’ home run highlighted State Fair’s second game performance.
Ross Carver took the loss and he allowed seven runs (five earned) on six hits over six innings and he struck out 10 and walked five. Andrew Bradshaw allowed two runs (both earned and both in the eighth) on four hits over three innings and he struck out one and walked one.
CROWDER 3, STATE FAIR 2
State Fair 001 010 0 — 2 5 1
Crowder 001 000 2 — 3 6 1
Jake McMahill and Derek Shikles. Zach Jackson and Brinson Williams. WP: Jackson. LP: McMahill. E: Zack Ehlen; Drew Reilly. 3B: Tyler Duncan. SH: Shikles. HBP: P.J. Esposito, Ehlen; Cooper King, Luke Price, Williams. LOB: State Fair 6, Crowder 9.
STATE FAIR 9, CROWDER 3
State Fair 310 201 020 — 9 10 1
Crowder 000 000 300 — 3 10 3
Chase Plymell, Conner Burnett (7) and Blake Ford. Ross Carver, Andrew Bradshaw (7) and Denver Mullins. WP: Plymell. LP: Carver. E: Joel Blosser; Carver, Mullins, Quinn Cherry. HR: Gavin Jones. 2B: Jacob Mitchell, Ford. SH: Tyler Crane. SB: Chase Swisher 3, Crane, Zack Ehlen; Cooper King 2, Mullins. HBP: Crane, Swisher. LOB: State Fair 8, Crowder 10.