The Mid-Missouri Mavericks won their first series against the Frontier League’s defending champions.
The Mavericks beat the Gateway Grizzlies 6-5 Monday night at Taylor Stadium to win their second game of the three-game series. It was the third night in a row the Mavericks played the Grizzlies in a one-run game.
“We are trying to win as much as we can before the season is over,” Mavericks manager Jim Gentile said. “We are going to be a giant killer if we keep playing like we are, and I think we are improving, I really do.”
Blake Blase’s home run in the first inning tied him for the league lead with two other players at 17.
“I have been struggling a lot at the plate since the All-Star game, and I decided I was just going to go up there tonight and swing and see what happens,” Blase said. “I got a fastball up in the zone, put a pretty good swing on it and put it out of the park.”
Tomari Storey-Harden had the Mavericks’ (20-53) second home run of the night with a two-run shot over the right field wall in the seventh inning to give the Mavericks a 6-4 lead.
“Whatever I can do to help the team, playing DH, first base, whatever,” Storey-Harden said.
The Grizzlies (42-33) scored one run in the top of the eighth before Mavericks closer Justin Craker, who sang the national anthem before the game, came in for Mavericks middle reliever David Lemieux and closed the inning with three consecutive outs.
Craker said he had a lot of pressure from his teammates to sing, and he always closes whenever he sings.
The Mavericks made their only error of the night in the seventh, when Storey-Harden dropped a throw from catcher Justin Quaney on a dropped third strike. The Grizzlies committed three errors.
Gentile said he was concerned with the number of men the Mavericks left on base.
“That’s the difference between our club and their club, we get the men on, pop up and strike out, and they get the men on and get them home,” Gentile said. “But the odds are with us because we are getting so many men on. But we could have made this an easier game. We ended up winning and it was a tough game, but we go till the last inning.”