Senior Legion baseball: Christian pitches Travelers past Fike

July 21, 2013

Dalton Christian might have pitched his final game at Liberty Park Stadium-Dey Field on Saturday.

If so, he’ll be remembered for pitching eight solid innings, helping the Sedalia Post 642 Travelers beat Fike, of Blue Springs, 10-5 in the District 5 senior Legion baseball tournament.

The Travelers (28-21) were scheduled to face Hi-Boy, of Independence, in an elimination game late Saturday night. The winner of that game will qualify for the Zone 2 tournament. The top three times in the five-team district advance to the zone tourney in Blue Springs.

In eight innings, Christian yielded four runs  — three earned — on six hits with five walks and seven strikeouts to pick up the victory.

“Fike’s a real good team, solid hitting all around. I was just trying to keep them off balance,” Christian said.  “Throw them what they aren’t expecting and just throwing strikes. ... I got the defense. I think we had (one) error besides (mine).”

The right-hander, who could pitch again this summer at Liberty Park if the Travelers advance to the state tournament, retired the  first six batters of the game before Braden Younkin singled to lead off the third.

After the Travelers scored seven runs in the fourth, Christian retired the next five batters to keep Fike on the outside looking in.

“He just beat an outstanding ballclub,” Travelers manager Mark Carey said, “ and hats off to him. He won us that ballgame, being the type of guy, the bulldog that he is on the mound. He got out of two or three jams that really, really took the wind  out of  their sails.”

The Travelers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Chance McMullin singled up the middle. Darion Lawrence bunted him to second, and Ian Dotson drew a walk.

McMullin — who finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one run scored — scored on Zach Bishop’s groundout to second, and Dotson came home on Christian’s two-out single.

Christian went 2 for 5 with one RBI.

With one out in the third, Fike tied the score at 2. Christian issued a walk after missing on the outside of the plate four times.

Christian continued to pitch away, and Dylan Farrell capitalized with a line drive to right field. Younkin scored on the play, and Dominic DeFeo raced home behind him because of an error in right field.

In the fourth, the Travelers sent 11 batters to the plate, and the first seven reached base against losing pitcher Alex Smith.

Caleb Tanguay — who went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and one run scored — singled, and A.J. Paul — who  had two hits — doubled. Luke Archibeque was hit by a pitch to load the bases. McMullin doubled home two runs, and Lawrence was struck by a pitch to reload the bases.

Ian Dotson pulled a liner down the left-field line on a 0-2 pitch to give the Travelers a 6-2 lead. Bishop singled home another run before an out was recorded.

Caleb Humphreys relieved the starter and gave up a two-out, run-scoring single to Tanguay to put the Travelers ahead 9-2.

“We didn’t miss a ball off the barrel that inning,” Carey said. “Even the outs were on the barrel. Yeah, we found a few holes out there and did a great  job placing it but (that’s) baseball.”

In the fifth, Christian walked three of four batters with two outs with Carson Messner driving in a run.

Reece Eddins led off the eighth with a triple on a flyball to right field and scored on Younkin’s sacrifice fly to right.

Austin Bullerd relieved Christian in the ninth, allowing one run on two hits. Farrell doubled and Nic Mertes singled him home.

With the loss, Fike’s season ended at 28-16.