Not all losses are closes for Chillicothe, and they certainly proved that on Tuesday Night in Indianola. After Des Moines came to town and took a 9-3 loss, they welcomed the Mudcats to their home field at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and picked apart their pitching, coming up with a 17-8 victory.
Even with the big loss, the Mudcats did score first, going up 1-0 in the first inning with Left Fielder Nathan MacLaren scoring on a wild pitch. That lead would hold for barely a half inning, as the Peak Prospects would bring nine guys to the plate and score four, now a 4-1 lead after one. RHP Max Randis got the start, but exited the game after only facing four batters. RHP Ryan Knipfer would take over for 2.2 IP, having to battle through the explosive Des Moines’ offense. Already up 4-1, they would score three in the second, five in the fifth and five more in the seventh, as they took a commanding 17-8 lead and go on to win by that score.
Now, the offense for Chillicothe was not bad. When a team scores eight runs, logically, that team tends to do fairly well. Unfortunately, with Randis departing early and Knipfer struggling on the mound, it made it hard to bounce back defensively. Aside from Randis, RHP Peyton Becker would relieve him, only going 1.2 IP, after he was also pulled as a precaution, much like Randis. LHP Kainoa Holt would finish off Becker’s fifth inning, but Head Coach Tyler Hudlow would save the rest of his pitchers for closer games down the road. Four more pitchers would enter for Chillicothe over the next three innings. The pitchers that happened to enter were not your everyday pitchers. Instead, they were everyday position players, as First Baseman Elian Guzman, Outfielder Noah Hata, Infielder Sammy Cruz and Catcher Zack Thompson would all enter in relief to keep the game close. Guzman and Thompson would have the only scoreless outings of the four position players. Cruz and Hata would each record strikeouts in their pitching debuts.
In a game that had such a tough outlook on it, Hudlow’s decision to throw in his position players to pitch makes the most sense. Chillicothe has an off day Wednesday, their last one until Thursday, June 22nd. They will play six road games and two home games to make eight consecutive games without a day off. The off day tomorrow is to get all pitchers ready for those next eight days and this is a big stretch for the Mudcats. 4-9 record after the loss to Des Moines, with a big chance to overcome to early losses with big wins this next week. Thursday night, Joplin will be the first test for the Mudcats.