Man, when the Cats are hot, they sure are hot. There was a time that this team was 2-8 through their first ten games. All of the sudden, a needed off day early in June and since then, a 13-6 record, winners of six in a row and currently sitting in third place in the North Division. Is it the pitching? The hitting? Or is it just a bunch of guys being dudes and playing really good baseball? I feel obliged to choose the latter.
A 4-3 victory over Carroll is a very big deal at this point in the season. Not only because they currently sit right below Chillicothe in the standings, but it was their first win against them this season. Carroll defeated Chillicothe in the Mudcats’ season opener and then a few days later in a doubleheader on the road. But again, all of that was before a much needed off day. This game would actually feature deja vu from game one of the season for the Mudcats. Merchants’ RHP Aiden Sieperda and Mudcats’ RHP Justice Ramirez would face off for the second time this season in Carroll. Ramirez went five hitless and scoreless innings in that outing, while Sieperda went five scoreless as well, but with four hits surrendered.
Both teams would match equal runs in the first, scoring two a piece making it a 2-2 game. Carroll would take the lead in the third on an RBI double to make it 3-2. Chillicothe responded two innings later in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Right Fielder Kodai Yaoita to make it 3-3. This would be the last run for a while, as the pitching really excelled for both sides. Ramirez would hurl six quality innings, allowing three runs off of seven hits, while striking out two. RHP Jaydon Cabezudo would come in to relieve, throwing a solid scoreless seventh inning. RHP Jett Ah Sam would follow in the eighth with a scoreless inning. In the ninth, LHP Kainoa Holt would face the top of the order, keeping the game tied and sending it to extra innings.
After Chillicothe’ hitting would go quiet in the top half, Holt would fire another scoreless inning, stranding the bases loaded. In the eleventh, push finally came to shove as Center Fielder Ben Kasparie would hit an RBI single to center, scoring Second Baseman Jackson Lindquist to take the lead 4-3. Kasparie only had the one hit in the game, but he sure made it count. RHP Tanner Sears would come on to shut the door in the bottom half, retiring the two, three and four hitters in order, securing the 4-3 victory. This would now be the third save of the season for Sears as well.
Like said earlier, when you’re hot, you’re hot. Chillicothe is in a terrific spot, playing great baseball in their last couple of weeks. This is now their eighth one-run victory of the season, a feat that is not always easy to have. Whatever the Mudcats are doing, it seems to be working.
Before taking a three day break from action, the Mudcats head to division rival St. Joseph on Monday Night. First pitch is set for 7:00 PM. Chillicothe has won their last three matchups against the Mustangs and currently sit two wins back of St. Joseph in the standings.