It was a much needed win.
The Mid-Missouri Mavericks ended their three-game skid Thursday night at Taylor Stadium defeating the River City Rascals 4-2.
Mavs’ Manager Jim Gentile said he was encouraged.
“It’s great after three losses,” Gentile said. “Every time we win I say, ‘I hope this is the start’, but I really do. We just had a bad three games at Gateway.”
The Mavs (13-44) broke a tie at 2 with two runs in the eighth inning.
Thomari Story-Harden led off with a single into left field then went to third on a Matt Oakes single to center. Eric Darjean drove in Story-Harden with a single past the shortstop.
After Oakes was thrown out at home on Charles Thomas’ fielder’s choice, Chad Sterbens hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Darjean from third.
Mavericks starter Steve Soja (4-3) had a solid outing, striking out three in seven innings and allowing one run on seven hits.
“I just said to myself, ‘It’s a close game. You got to make some good pitches,’” Soja said. “I try to make good pitches all the time, but there were a couple of times when we had a guy on third with less than two outs. I just tried to get a pop-up or a little groundball.”
Rascals’ pitcher Greg Modica (7-2) pitched well until the Mavericks started hitting in the eighth and Dave Guntorius relieved him. Modica struck out six and walked one, giving up four runs on 12 hits.
The Rascals (29-28) scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning on catcher Zack Riera’s double into right field that scored Mike Madrid from second base. Madrid went 3-for-4 with a double.
In the seventh, the Mavs’ went ahead 2-1 on a Dustin Hillman single to left field that drove in third baseman Sterbens.
Shortstop Rafael Lara scored the Mavs’ first run in the fifth for a tie at 1. He doubled down the third base line and scored on a dramatic slide on Brent Metheny’s infield hit.
The Mavericks’ defense has been a problem all season and it was another obstacle early on. In the first five innings, the team had four errors.
Soja said the Mavs aren’t letting their frustrations get to them.
“It’s not really pressure,” Soja said. “It’s saying to yourself that we gotta get a win. I got to give a good outing. You can look at it as pressure, but I look at it like I just have to do my job.”
Story-Harden went 3-for-4.
Gentile said he noticed a change in the team’s play and attitude.
“This could be a jump for us,” Gentile said. “I hope so. The guys like being home and playing at home and I’m hoping it will continue.”