ANDERSON — The Neosho Wildcats and the McDonald County Mustangs battled Thursday evening and two Wildcat errors in the sixth inning helped the Mustangs come away with a 2-1 victory against their district rival.
Neosho senior Jared Stephens and McDonald County senior Boston Dowd dueled, just like a pair of community college signees should (Stephens with State Fair, Dowd with Cowley). Both pitched well enough to win, but unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
Stephens took the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits over six innings with 15 strikeouts and no walks. Stephens finished at 99 pitches and he struck out three in the first, two in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth, two in the fifth, and three in the sixth.
Dowd earned the victory, allowing one run (earned) on four hits over seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
Neosho hurt itself not only with two late errors but throughout the contest by stranding nine runners.
A.C. Marion, Stephens, Weston Durman, and Mason Ray each had one hit for the Wildcats, while Jordan Platter, Joe Brown, Omar Manuel, and Oakley Roessler each came through with hits against Stephens, including a double for Platter.
McDonald County did its damage in the sixth with two outs — Manuel reached on an error and Roessler’s single turned into a two-base error and 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, Kaden King worked a leadoff walk and Cole Seward sacrificed King into scoring position, but Dowd retired Neosho big bats Brett Cook and Tre Letts to end the game.
Neosho, 2-2 overall, returned to action Saturday against Olathe Northwest.
McDonald County improved to 3-1 on the early season and the Mustangs returned to action, weather permitting, Monday against Shiloh Christian (Arkansas).