Jeremiah Coley Caesar (#6) on the mound as the Nevada Griffins’ starting pitcher in the top of the first inning.
Photo of Kaleb Vestal | Daily Mail
The Nevada Griffons (3-6) were hoping for a better start to the 2022 MINK League season, but they had an opportunity to pick up a win against a team they beat at home just a week ago. They were particularly poised for a win after four straight losses in five days against the St Joseph Mustangs, Clarinda A’s and Sedalia Bombers. With No. 6 Jeremiah Coley Caesar on the rubber for the Nevada Griffons and No. 32 AJ Moreno on the mound for the Joplin Outlaws, here’s what happened Tuesday night at Lyons Stadium.
The Joplin Outlaws scored two runs on a single hit in the top of the first, after left fielder for No. 20 Nevada’s Alex Mintz struggled to follow the ball due to glare from the sun. The Griffons went scoreless in the bottom half of the inning and headed to the top of the second.
Nevada and Joplin went scoreless in the second inning of the game, but not without a chance for a run or two. After a pop fly hit by Nevada in shallow right field with two outs, Joplin #1 right fielder Garrett Chun dropped the ball and was deemed safe for Nevada to have two runners in the way of base. The third out was caught and the score remained the same.
The third inning was scoreless for both teams, but early in the fourth was where No. 7 Tyler Monroe for the Griffons replaced Coley Ceasar on the mound in the blue and gray colors. Nevada managed to keep the Outlaws scoreless in the top of the fourth after Joplin’s runner on third had to jump to avoid the tag, but failed to do so. Unfortunately for the Nevada Griffons, they too were left scoreless and went 2-0 with the Joplin Outlaws leading into the fifth inning.
Once again, the Outlaws failed to score, but Nevada had its closest shot to doing so all night in the bottom half of the inning. They finally managed to get on the scoreboard after the Griffons scored three runs, which changed the score to 3-2 with Nevada in the lead.
11 James Yamasaki replaced Moreno on the mound with two outs to go late in the fifth and headed to the top of the sixth inning. This is where the Outlaws had two base runners at first and third, but couldn’t advance their score. They did, however, advance their number of pitchers that they used in the ball game, as No. 31 Connor Peck replaced Yamasaki on the mound sporting the red and black colored jersey. Both teams were unable to move their respective score and headed to the top of the seventh.
With one out, Mintz in left field made an incredible catch as the ball headed for the fence for the second out. Nevada eventually got the third out it needed and kept runners at first and second, but retired for the third out. Joplin tied the ball game in the top of the eighth with one out, after a fly ball to left field could send a runner home. Then three more runners were able to score, and Nevada looked for a way to end the damage, with the score now 6-3 Joplin.
In the bottom half, Joplin Outlaws #19 George Fisher replaced Peck on the mound at Lyons Stadium, until he was quickly replaced by #35 Cameron Hill after facing just two batters. Nevada then scored two runs with two outs. They finally had the third out, and Nevada trailed just one run in the lead in the ninth.
No. 29 Aaron Hassell for the Griffons showed up to pitch against the Joplin Outlaws, replacing Monroe. With two out and a runner at first, the Griffons managed to get the batter out first of a Schneider pitch to third base, and looked to take advantage of the bottom of ninth to try to score two more runs to win. . With two Griffons base runners at first and second after being traversed, No. 23 Andrew Sumner took over pitching operations for the Joplin Outlaws, replacing Hill on the mound.
It was Joplin’s seventh man on the rubber sporting Team Joplin, after trying to keep the Griffons from scoring in the inning. With goals loaded with one out, Nevada were driven home after the ball four was called on No. 12 Caleb Chance, tying the game 6-6, with goals still loaded. Now, with two out after a caught ball was counted, #11 Luke Piazza hit a floater to left center, and the Nevada Griffons won the ball game 7-6 over the Joplin Outlaws.
“Yeah, it feels good to be back in the win column,” Nevada Griffons head coach Mike Albin said. “We had a really good outing on all of our courts tonight and our boys handled the sticks well, especially on the weekend. The Joplin Outlaws were more disciplined to play today. They certainly haven’t hunted as much and the difference is certainly still good.
Speaking of the batting final with Piazza at home plate, coach Albin quotes: “You know, they worked it a lot on the inside. I don’t know why, but I worked him a lot on the inside and he delivered a lot the last three games with some key hits on the line. All inside the grounds and he swings.
Finally, speaking about the next two home games against the Iowa Prospects, Albin told the Nevada Daily Mail, “Well, you know, those guys can hit and throw is probably pretty much where everybody was. So we have to play fundamental defensive grounds, we have to step up, and we have to keep doing what we’re doing at the plate.” Nevada improves to 4-6 on the year, and looks forward to continuing their winning ways on Wednesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. each evening.
One of the Nevada Griffins got up to strike in the bottom of the first hitting a ground ball into the infield.
Photo of Kaleb Vestal | Daily Mail