After coming out of the loser’s bracket to play for the Zone 2 Tournament title and nearly rallying from eight runs down Sunday at Dey Field at Liberty Park, the Sedalia Travelers’ season ended with a 14-10 loss to Fike.
With the win, Fike is the Zone 2 champions and will start play in the State Tournament on Thursday at Liberty Park.
Fike’s largest lead Sunday was 14-6 after six innings, but the Travelers started chipping away at that lead in the seventh.
An error and two walks loaded the bases for Sedalia with no outs. Christian Jones pinch hit for Chase Plymell and was hit by a pitch to allow Rocky Sell to score.
With one out, Landon Dove hit a grounder past a diving second baseman to drive in Dom Zerilli.
Brice Pannier was hit by a pitch with two outs, allowing Mason Kelchner to cross the plate.
A Gavin Jones pop out stranded the bases loaded, keeping the score 14-9.
Sedalia loaded the bases with no outs again in the ninth. Pannier hit a deep fly ball to left field for an out, but Jake Kindle tagged up from third and scored to make it 14-10.
Gavin Jones also hit a deep fly ball to left field, but it was caught at the wall. With runners at first and second, Sell grounded to the second baseman, who stepped on the bag to seal the win for Fike.
“We had chances to score more runs and didn’t get it done, but I’m very pleased with our effort,” said Travelers manager Jeff Mays. “They gave it all they had and that’s all you can ask.”
Kaleb Bishop contributed to Sedalia’s rally by holding off Fike’s hot bats.
Bishop allowed one run on three hits in the final five innings. He struck out two and walked one.
“What else could you ask?” Mays said. “We were kind of hoping to save him to start the next one if we got there, but we went ahead and brought him in and he shut the door down.”
Bishop didn’t allow Fike to get a runner in scoring position in the fifth, eighth and ninth innings.
He got out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth by getting a pop out to end the inning with only one run coming across the plate.
Fike left runners at first and third in the seventh and Bishop kept Sedalia’s deficit from growing.
Fike scored 11 of its 14 runs in the first two innings, but only scored three the rest of the game.
“They are one of the best hitting teams you’re going to see,” Mays said. “They can flat out hit it. You’ve got to give them credit for that.”
After Fike scored four in the top of the first inning, Sedalia answered by taking the lead with six runs.
The Travelers’ first six batters of the game reached base, including Sell’s double to deep left field to drive in Pannier and Gavin Jones to cut Fike’s lead to 4-3.
“We were hot,” Mays said. “We came up fired up and we got into their bullpen quick. You’ve got to credit the pitching that they brought in that kind of slowed us down for a while.”
Kelchner then hit a slow bouncer down the third-base line that turned into an infield single and allowed Sell to score.
Zerilli scored on a wild pitch and a Plymell sac fly which made it 6-4 Travelers was the first out of the game for Sedalia.
Fike run-ruled Sedalia on Friday, but the Travelers recovered to beat Lee’s Summit 8-3 and the Blue Springs A’s 12-4 to advance to Sunday’s title game.
“We were very pleased with our effort in the tournament,” Mays said. “We played well. We fought all day (Sunday) and kept coming. If we had a few more innings we might have been in it still.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.