It was hot, at Alec Luyet played fireman.
Five perfect innings in relief from the Sedalia Junior Legion pitcher quieted the Smithton Storm, who had rallied for the lead an inning earlier. Luyet retired fifteen straight batters lead Sedalia Rick Ball Ford in a nine-inning victory 8-5 over Smithton at Liberty Park in Sedalia.
Luyet relieved Sedalia starter Nick Miller, who allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings.
After losing the lead in the top of the fourth, Sedalia coach Justin Wiskur gave a short talk between innings punctuated with a “Let’s go!” They scored in each inning that followed, and earned a one-run lead on a play that both gave Rick Ball a lead an ended the inning.
An errant throw back to Smithton’s pitcher, Truman Leicher, allowed Gunnar Creach to score from third. Braiden McEachern, looking to capitalize on the error, was thrown out at third for the final out, Sedalia leading 6-5.
Coach Dustin Broaddus said the Sedalia coaching staff told the players to refocus after allowing three runs in the third and two runs in the fourth.
“That’s kind of been our biggest problem all year, is that we take a couple innings off, and then we’ll get it going again,” Broaddus said. “We just told them to pick up the intensity and be locked in every pitch … After that I feel like we started playing a little bit more of our baseball.”
Smithton tied the game at three in the third inning off three doubles from Jake Neal, Eric Culp and Kenton Stover.
Neal scored again on a Ryan Rafferty RBI single to give the Storm a 5-3 lead in the fourth. He was 3-for-4 on the day.
Smithton Storm head coach Jeff Walsh said the teams agreed to one nine-inning game instead of a doubleheader due to hot temperatures and a minimal Smithton roster.
Walsh said much of his roster have other practical obligations.
“All of my boys have jobs,” Walsh said. “I don’t blame them, and I totally understand. It puts the team in a bit of a predicament. We barely had enough tonight, and with this heat today, humidity, there’s no way I wanted to go two games tonight.”
Two players were lifted from the game between innings after becoming sick on the field.
Sedalia Rick Ball Ford improves to 29-9 on the season, and hosts their district tournament beginning Thursday, when Waverly and Warrenburg play for a shot at Sedalia on Friday.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2