The Mustangs (42-16) downed the Sedalia Bombers (28-18) 4-1 in the deciding game of the championship series Friday evening to claim a spot in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, KS.
"These guys really deserve it," St. Joe manager Matt Johnson said. "They busted their tails all year long and for them to be rewarded like this is phenomenal."
The one-two punch at the top of the St. Joseph lineup boosted the offense. Lead-off batter Lucas Powers finished with two hits including an RBI infield single to open a 1-0 lead.
Despite finishing 0-2 at the plate, Kyle Richards scored a run after reaching on a hit by pitch, and padded the St. Joe lead in the seventh with a sacrifice fly.
Brandon Baker, a pitcher that just completed his freshman year at Mizzou, tossed 7 2/3 superb innings allowing one earned run on five hits and two walks. Baker's record improves to 5-3, while his ERA is trimmed to 2.89.
With emotions running high in the championship game, things became heated multiple times Friday.
After the top of the eighth inning, Sedalia center fielder Jerrod Perry got into an argument with players on the Mustangs bench, and had to be restrained. Warnings were given to both clubs after the incident.
Bombers reliever Dan Chambliss then began arguing balls and strikes in the bottom half of the inning, and was quickly ejected.
St. Joe's turn with ejections came in the top of the ninth. Grant Gavin entered the game with a chance to earn his eighth save of the summer. He struck out Alex Bee, but then walked Jordan Dey. With a runner on and one down, Hunter Leeper was hit with a pitch that ran high and inside.
Gavin was kicked out with Johnson ran off not long after.
Jon Pomatto recorded the final two outs of the contest, including a strike out of Cody White, to seal his third save and the championship.
The Mustangs and Bombers each played their inaugural seasons in the MINK in 2009, and also battled for the league title in 2012. St. Joe came out on top clinching game three at Phil Welch Stadium.
St. Joseph won't play again until after the play-in round of the NBC World Series is completed July 31.
Pitcher Ryker Fox already has his sights set on the next goal.
"We're going to come home and try to get a good week of practice in, then go get another championship."
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