JOPLIN — Conservation of innings.
Conservation of pitching.
Whatever you want to call it, the Crowder Roughriders needed it Friday during their two-game voyage through the consolation bracket to Saturday’s championship game against Jefferson.
Crowder erupted offensively for six runs in the first and nine in the fourth en route to a 15-7 run-rule win Friday over State Fair at historic Joe Becker Stadium.
Most importantly, Crowder only used three arms on Friday — Aaron Ashby’s Herculean complete game in a 10-1 win earlier Friday over Mineral Area and then Brett Brockinton and Andrew Bradshaw worked seven innings against State Fair.
Overall, by virtue of two run-rule wins Friday, Crowder conserved nine outs and who knows exactly how many pitches or pitchers by not having to play three more innings.
“In these situations, you’ve got to go score,” Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand said. “You’ve got to save outs for the pitching and we did that. I’m not sure how many … at least nine or 12 outs we saved today for our pitching staff. That’s huge. Winning the games is big, but holding the run-rule there was even bigger. If we didn’t do that, we have to waste another arm and it gets more taxing for (Saturday). We’ve got pitching lined up and we’ll see how it goes.
“Brockinton was really good early and then they kinda got on him and took some good swings. The wind was blowing out and they got a ball out just like we did. Really, Bradshaw’s been that guy we started using in that role. We started using him about a month ago in that role and he’s done a good job of just keeping the game where it’s at, getting some zeroes for us.
“The biggest thing is we’re two games away from it and it’s going to be tough. I told them it’s not going to be easy and if you’re going to accomplish it, it’s going to be a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end. We have to play our best baseball. JeffCo’s a heckuva club and we have to play our best baseball against those guys to expect to be successful.”
Brockinton earned the win and allowed six runs (all earned) on 10 hits over four innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Bradshaw tossed three innings of nearly scoreless relief and he allowed one run (unearned) on one hit. He struck out one and walked none.
Offensively, Crowder bashed 16 hits against four State Fair pitchers and chased starter Logan Bexten after only 1/3 inning with six runs (all earned) on six hits over the first seven Crowder batters. That meant going early into the bullpen for State Fair and the ‘Riders definitely feasted on it with those nine runs in the fourth.
Kobe Morris, Frielin Cabrera, and Cooper King each had three hits, while Drew Reilly and Samuel Chaput each picked up two. All nine Crowder players scored at least one run and eight of the nine collected at least one hit. Drew Reilly and King each drove in three runs and Morris and Cabrera each brought home two.
Of the 16 hits Crowder had, 10 of them were for extra bases — home runs by Morris, Cabrera, Reilly, and King and doubles by Cabrera, Morris, Duncan, Reilly, and Cameron Witt. Cabrera doubled twice.
Crowder improved to 46-14 overall with the two wins Friday and the Crowder sophomore class reached 100 wins so far during their careers at Crowder.
The ‘Riders are seeking two more Saturday.
Region 16 Tournament
at Joe Becker Stadium, Joplin
CROWDER 15, STATE FAIR 7
State Fair 102 300 1 — 7 11 2
Crowder 600 900 X — 15 16 2
Logan Bexten, Conner Burnett (1), Josiah Imhoff (4), Brett Wilbanks (4) and Derek Shikles. Brett Brockinton, Andrew Bradshaw (5) and Samuel Chaput. WP: Brockinton. LP: Burnett. E: Gavin Jones, Burnett; Quinn Cherry 2. HR: Chase Swisher, Zack Ehlen; Cooper King, Frielin Cabrera, Drew Reilly, Kobe Morris. 2B: Kyle Clark, Shikles; Cabrera, Tyler Duncan, Cameron Witt, Reilly, Morris. SB: Ehlen. HBP: Jones, Swisher; Cherry. LOB: State Fair 7, Crowder 7.