May 10, Crowder College at Joe Becker Stadium in Joplin
The fourth-seeded Roadrunners opened their portion of the Region 16 tournament against the top-seeded Crowder College Roughriders from Neosho. SFCC emerged with a hard-fought 7-6 victory courtesy of grand slam from freshman infielder Gavin Jones that erased a three-run deficit in the top of the ninth inning.
Crowder opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. SFCC tied the game with two runs in the top of the sixth. Crowder responded with a single run in the bottom of the inning. SFCC tied the game with a single run in the top of the seventh. Crowder scored three runs to take the lead once again in the bottom of the eighth.
"Our guys showed a lot of resilience in that game," said Head Coach Jud Kindle. "Crowder got a three-run lead and brought in their closer. We put in Kenny Prado in the ninth inning to pinch hit, and he got hit by a pitch. We were able to load the bases later in the inning. Gavin Jones put together a good at-bat with two strikes and put one over the wall to give us the lead."
Jones had an outstanding game at the plate with three hits, two of which were home runs. He scored two runs and drove in five. Sophomore outfielder Tyler Crane, sophomore first basemanJacob Mitchell and sophomore infielder Chase Swisher had two hits each in the game. Freshman catcher/first baseman Kyle Clark and sophomore infielder Steven Bradbury drove in one run each.
Sophomore pitcher Jake McMahill got the start on the mound for SFCC. He pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and struck out 10. Sophomore pitcher Josiah Imhoff (5-4) picked up the victory in relief. He pitched 1.1 innings and gave up one run on three hits while striking out one.
May 11, Jefferson College at Joe Becker Stadium in Joplin
The Roadrunners took on the Jefferson College Vikings from Hillsboro in a winner's bracket game. The fourth-seeded Roadrunners fell to the second-seeded Vikings 11-3 in seven innings because of the run rule.
The Vikings got its offense going with five runs in the bottom of the first inning and added three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take 8-0 lead. The Roadrunners scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Vikings responded with three runs in the bottom the sixth. SFCC tacked on a single run in the top of the seventh inning to close out the scoring.
Jefferson held the State Fair offense to just six hits in the game. Crane, Mitchell, freshman outfielder Hayden Bradford, sophomore catcher Blake Ford, sophomore catcher Jake Quarti and Prado all had one hit each. Ford, Jones, and Prado scored one run each. Crane and Swisher each had one run batted in.
Sophomore pitcher Chase Plymell (7-6) got the start of the mound for SFCC. He pitched two innings, giving up seven hits and eight runs. He was given the pitching loss.
May 11, Crowder College at Joe Becker Stadium in Joplin
SFCC (33-24) took on Crowder College in an elimination game and saw its season end with a 15-7 loss, which ended in seven innings because of the run rule.
SFCC scored a run in the top of the first inning. Crowder exploded for six runs in the bottom half of the inning. SFCC responded with two runs in the top of the third and three more in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at six. Crowder responded with nine runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take control the game. SFCC scored a single run in the top the seventh to close out the scoring.
Prado and sophomore catcher Derek Shikles recorded three hits each to lead the SFCC offense. Sophomore utility player Zack Ehlen had two hits, including a home run and two runs scored. Clark also had a pair of hits. Swisher had a home run and drove in three runs.
Freshman pitcher Logan Bexton (6-5) got the start for the Roadrunners. He was tagged with the pitching loss.
Coach Kindle saw much progress in his team in his second year as head coach.
"This year I'm the most proud of the team's progress in the classroom," said Kindle. "Our retention and team grade point average was better this year. Our sophomore class led the way, and our freshman class was excellent academically. On the field, we meet all of our team goals. We were able to host a sub-regional. That was our first goal. We were able to win a sub-regional, and we won more than 30 games, which is a good year for any team. Our players bought into what we were doing from day one last fall."
Kindle also was pleased with his sophomore class.
"Our sophomore class invested countless hours into our program," said Kindle. "They were very good at holding each other accountable and understanding what they needed to do to win games, and that's what they did."