A win is a win, but the McPherson Pipeliners knew that there were plenty of opportunities to end the game sooner rather than take it the ninth against the Valley Center Mud Daubers. However, the Pipeliners still managed to get it done in the nick of time with the final score of 17-13 on Saturday.
Early on, the Pipeliners took advantage of the Mud Dauber's three errors which would set up a hitting spree for the hitting trio of Jake Selco, Tyler Brown and Kevin Fleisher as all three of them recorded RBIs in both the second and third inning, giving the Pipeliners a 5-0 lead.
"You look at the numbers, our middle of the lineup is perhaps the hottest part in this league right now," Pipeliners Head Coach Chris Dawson said.
The Mud Daubers wouldn't go away quietly. After four scoreless innings, Valley Center finally got rolling in the top fifth. The first run came off an error by Julian Hunt, then a pair of RBI singles by both Adam Schrag and Dermont Fritsch gave Valley Center three more runs off four hits. Grant Lung gave the Mud Daubers a three-run lead after hitting a grand slam in the top six.
Without keeping their heads down, Grant Plunkett hit a solo home run in the bottom six to make it 8-6. Plunkett finished with two RBIs on Saturday night. Selco, who led the Pipliners with five RBIs, followed it up with a three-run bomb for the Pipeliners to regain the lead.
"Hats off to Grant Plunkett. Grant Plunkett gets us started with that home run to kind of give the energy back to us a little bit more," Dawson said. "You could tell once he hit that one they went down a little bit."
The Pipeliner's big inning came in the bottom seventh when they scored six runs, five unearned due to the Mud Daubers walking five batters. Leading 17-9, the Pipeliners needed one more run to end the game early. Even though the bases were loaded, the Mud Daubers kept the game going after two straight outs. The Mud Daubers added five more runs in the top ninth until the Pipeliners finally slowed them down and ended the game. For Dawson, it was a win with less satisfaction.
"When you have a chance to bury a team, you bury them," Dawson said. "Especially in a game like this. We've had some history with these guys, so it was good to get this victory. Can't be mad with 17 runs on 15 hits, but we've got to learn to put teams away when we have a chance."
Adam Tabor started on the mound for the Pipeliners. In 5.2 innings, he gave away 10 hits, three walks. Nao Fukuda took over as the reliever and was the winning pitcher, leading with three strikeouts. Rey Lozano and Memo Espinoza also pitched late in the ballgame.
The Pipeliners will return to Edward Jones Stadium to host a doubleheader matchup against the Wellington Heat, starting at 6:30 p.m.
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