Post 642 Sedalia advanced one step closer to an American Legion AAA Missouri state tournament victory Friday, carried by Gehrig Taylor’s complete-game effort on the mound in a 5-2 at Liberty Park Stadium in Sedalia.
Taylor’s outing truly began weeks ago, after a relief outing against Post 218 in a one-run Sedalia loss. When he was named starter for Friday, he scouted Washington with his previous stint in mind.
“Last night, after our first game, (head coach Jeff Mays) told me I was going to pitch so I stayed and I watched them play,” Taylor said. “I could tell that they weren’t too-awful-good at hitting off-speed. They were really good at hitting fastballs, they were good at sitting back on it. But, those off-speed pitches, a lot of them were lunging out, swinging at pitches in the dirt. So I knew I had to keep everything as low as I could and maybe get them to roll over some, pop up some. It worked.”
Taylor said he felt arm pain early in the game, but continued to breeze through innings with efficiency, allowing one run through eight frames.
“When I started the game, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go seven,” Taylor said. “It was tough. I was kind of telling myself in the dugout when my limit was, and I didn’t think I was going to be able to go out for the ninth. (Mays) asked me if I was good to go and I was like, ‘I guess,’”
In the third inning, Gavin Jones executed a hit-and-run with a chopper through the right side as Batxer Mays broke for third. Baxter Mays’ two-out run was the first of the game. Chase Plymell made it 3-0, Sedalia, one batter later with a drive to left field.
Trey Hunter hit an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Washington trailed 4-1 after a Jake Kindle RBI to score Plymell. Zach Marquart relieved Zach Finley.
Dom Zerilli scored Jones on a sacrifice fly in the ninth to make it 5-1, Sedalia.
Taylor entered the ninth inning having thrown 87 pitches. He allowed a run to Nate Hillerman, who singled with two outs. Gus Kleekamp grounded out to second to seal Gehrig’s complete game.
“It’s just adrenaline. You want to be the guy who gets the ball in a state game like that. Your arm may be hurting, but, at that point, when you’re out there on the mound, nothing hurts. It’s amazing.”
The Travelers are poised for a rematch with Post 218 Washington Saturday at 1 p.m. Washington eliminated Ste. Genevieve 3-2 in game five of the tournament. Sedalia again hosts Post 218 at 4 p.m. with a Travelers loss Saturday.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2