The Post 642 Sedalia Travelers rallied from three down to tie it up at six apiece in the seventh inning, but the Rods A’s plated a run in the bottom half and held on for a 7-6 win Saturday at Dey Field at Liberty Park.
The win for the A’s advanced them to Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against Fike, which will determine who plays the Lee’s Summit Outlaws for the Zone Tournament title at 4 p.m. Sunday. If the A’s or Fike beats the Outlaws, they will play a second and final game at 1 p.m. Monday.
The Travelers went scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and were down 6-3 headed to the seventh, but Mason Kelchner singled in Chance McMullin and Cody Kozak lined one past the third baseman to drive in Ian Dotson and Kelchner to tie the game.
“Our guys battled,” said manager Jade Samborski. “There’s no way around it. They battled all summer long for us.”
The A’s got runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the seventh and Nate Carlton’s fly ball to right field landed just inside fair territory to score David Stober to take a 7-6 lead.
AJ Paul tried to get a rally started with a lead-off single in the eighth, but the A’s completed a double play. McMullin then singled and stole second base, but a strikeout ended the threat.
The Travelers were retired in order in the ninth.
“We are a team of heart,” McMullin said. “We all have heart. We gave it our best shot and kept clawing back and we just couldn’t quite get over that hump.”
McMullin reached base five times with three singles, a double and a hit by pitch. He also scored three of the Travelers’ six runs.
“I played as hard as I could and I know my teammates did too,” McMullin said.
McMullin attempted to catch Jeremy Lufft’s deep fly ball to left field in the second inning, but the ball went over the fence when he jumped into it.
“I thought I had a shot and the ball got to me a little quicker than I thought it would,” McMullin said.
The home run was the second of the game for the A’s. Corbin Hair clanged one off the foul pole in left field for a two-run shot.
Austin Bullerd pitched all eight innings for the Travelers, giving up seven runs on 16 hits. He also struck out two and walked two.
“In that situation he’s our best,” Samborski said. “He’s mentally strong. He didn’t let anything affect him.”
After allowing the two early home runs, Sedalia Juniors coach Jeff Mays suggested Bullerd change his release point.
“He was below his knee and he needed to get it up even with his knee or maybe a little bit above his knee because down low it flattens out on him,” Samborski said. “That’s what happened on the two home runs, it flattened out on him.”
The Travelers ended the summer with a 24-24 record.