The Bombers jumped on another MINK League starter Sunday, this time chasing Branson’s Aaron Bennefield after two innings. Sedalia scored 10 runs in the second frame, and cruised to a 13-5 victory over the Nationals at Dey Field at Liberty Park in Sedalia.
Sedalia (24-13) have blown out opponents before – scoring 10 runs in seven games so far – but the 10-run second inning was the team’s largest production of the season.
Justin Holt contributed to the landslide second inning with a three-run double. He later reached third after a dropped pop fly and a throwing error in the fifth. The Branson Nationals were charged with five errors on the game.
John Privitera, starting in right field, drove in two runs on a single and a walk. In the past two weeks, Alex Bee, Robert Cummins, Ben Whetstone and Privitera have rotated in right field. Left-handed pitcher Blaine Fisher entered the game in right field after pinch-hitting in the seventh.
Head coach Craig McAndrews said the Bombers – down to 10 hitters – have required a “next-man-up” philosophy.
“Johnny (Privitera) played center in high school, Whetstone played a little outfield, so that’s why I rotated those guys,” McAndrews said. “I’ve been playing pitchers out there if we get a real big lead, which sounds crazy, but you’ve got to keep guys fresh.”
Bombers starter Jake Tolbert fits the bill of “next-man-up.” He arrived in Sedalia in time for a July 6 matchup with the Clarinda A’s by recommendation of Arkansas Fort-Smith teammate and Bombers starter Evan Dodd. Tolbert had three relief appearances before his spot start Sunday, and pitched seven innings, surrendering two runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked two.
Tolbert, who was playing in a summer league and working a maintenance job at a high school in his hometown of Salina, Oklahoma, before joining Sedalia, said the Bombers experience has been good so far.
“It was just an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Tolbert said. “I got the opportunity to come up here for three weeks out of my summer, and I jumped all over it.”
Dalton Christian entered the game in the eighth, and allowed one run on a single and fielder’s choice. He surrendered two more in the ninth.
Sunday’s victory precedes an important MINK League North matchup with the Chillicothe Mudcats at 7 p.m. Monday. The Bombers edged Chillicothe Saturday with a walk-off 4-3 victory. Sedalia, Chillicothe and St. Joseph are currently within 1/2 games of each other in the North standings.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2