By: Diamond Carroll
The game isn’t over until the whistle blows as the Griffons pull off another comeback to sweep rival Bearcats 7-6 at the Griffon Spring Sports Complex improving their overall record to 17-15.
Last Sunday night’s game was the third installment in a three-game series against Northwest. Western had a slow start as they didn’t get their first hit until the third inning. However, Western was able to turn the tables at the bottom of the eighth inning when they were down 6-1.
Nolan Monthei started the six-run comeback with a pinch-hit triple followed by Dusty Stroup’s single to allow him to score. Fahd Shakeel hit a triple allowing two more runs.
At this point there are two outs, and Casey Danley is at bat.
“The count is 3-2, and I knew he was going to come with a fastball especially bases loaded and bottom of the eighth,” Danley said. “Luckily, I hit it hard, and it got through the infield.”
Danley ties the game with a two-run RBI single to left field that allowed for Will Jibas to get on third base. A wild pitch is thrown and Jibas races home for the game-winning run.
Jacob Miller, who is currently dealing with injury to his arm, was able to come in to close it out for Western. Miller came out on redemption to Saturday’s game pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning on a strikeout and two ground outs.
“My arm was a little coming the game today as I had also pitched in [Saturday’s game] and that didn’t go the way I wanted so I knew I needed to have a good bounce back,” Miller said.
Western won the first game in this series in Mercy Rule 16-3 and the second game 13-10. Sweeping Northwest puts Missouri Western into a tie for third in the MIAA standings with Central Oklahoma. The Griffons and the Bronchos are now three games back from Central Missouri and Missouri Southern who are tied for first.
Western has four more series left in the regular season as they continue to battle for the number one seed in the conference.
Head coach Buzz Verduzco wants the team to focus on these last few games as they are most crucial when going into the playoffs.
“We just have to continue to play good baseball as teams are going to be playing for the last spot in or teams are playing for a better seed,” Verduzco said. “The last five or six games are going to be crucial to that.”
Missouri Western travels to Pittsburg State for their next three-game series to try and keep the momentum going.
“One thing we have to work on is our defense, and I feel like we need to clean that up a little bit,” Verduzco said. “Those type of things down the stretch, especially during playoff time, can hurt you.”
Western takes on Pittsburg State (21-17 (13-11 MIAA)) Thursday, April 18 as they look to improve their 14-10 conference record.