Patience is a word that is often easier said than exemplified.
But Junction City was patient in Wednesday’s game against Midwest – and it paid off.
Faced with a 3-0 deficit before even taking an at-bat, the Brigade chipped away inning-by-inning, and Carson Sader’s two-out, two-strike triple in the fifth plated two to help Junction City knock off Midwest, 6-3.
The Brigade fell behind 3-0 in the first on a two-run double by Payne McCutchen and an RBI groundout. But in the bottom half, they scratched back a run on an RBI single from Aaron Samaniego. In the third, they notched another run when Tim Bell homered to left-center, his first of the year.
But in the fifth, Junction City’s patience paid off. With one out, Blake Burrows reached on an error. With Bell at the plate, head coach Derek Francis put on the hit-and-run, and Burrows was safe at second on Bell’s groundout. That – paired with a Will Jordan walk – set up Sader’s big hit, which landed just left of the center fielder’s glove.
The Brigade pitching staff shut down Midwest after the first. Starter Christian Rawlings went two innings, setting the A’s down in order in the second after allowing the three runs. Cade Peters followed with two scoreless innings, and Cole Larsen mirrored that performance. Jacob Uhing held the A’s scoreless in the final two innings to earn the save.
The Brigade staved off a Midwest rally in the seventh, but Larsen came out the better. The A’s had two runners in scoring position with two outs, but Larsen struck first baseman Kevin Harden to strike out swinging.
With both the Brigade and the Topeka Golden Giants winning, Junction City remains 1/2 game behind Topeka in the Mid-Plains League West.
Thursday’s games therefore play a crucial role in determining playoff seedings.
If Topeka wins against Kansas City (regardless of Junction City result)
If Junction City loses (regardless of Topeka result)
Topeka would earn the one seed in the Mid-Plains League West division and face Baldwin City in the first round of the MPL playoffs. Junction City would be the two seed and face Midwest. The regular season would be over for both teams, and the MPL Playoffs would begin on Saturday.
If Junction City wins, Topeka loses
This scenario would give the Brigade a chance to earn the number-one seed, but Junction City would have to earn it. A victory Thursday night, coupled with a Topeka loss, would mean Junction City would play their final regular-season game on Friday against the Midwest A’s. That game would take place at Rathert Stadium (time TBA).
If Junction City were to win that game against Midwest, they would then be the number-one seed and face Baldwin City. If they were to lose the game against Midwest, they would fall to the two-seed and play Midwest again. Topeka has the tiebreaker over Junction City.