In first home playoff game, Renegades down Bombers 9-4

Step 1 was securing a home MINK League playoff game for the Jefferson City Renegades. Step 2 was winning it.And the Renegades put together one of their most complete efforts of the season Monday night en route to a 9-4 first-round victory against the Sedalia Bombers at Vivion Field.“Huge,” Jefferson City coach Mike DeMilia said. “The ultimate goal is to win the championship, but our program is trying to take steps in the right direction. Getting to second place, getting this home game and then to come out and play the way we did in a big game was huge. We don’t expect our guys to play perfect, but we were as close to perfect as you can be honestly.”The victory advances Jefferson City into the South Division title game at 7 p.m. today at Joplin and one win away from the team’s first-ever MINK League championship series.“It’s a hard ask for our pitchers to shut Joplin down, so we are going to have to score some runs,” DeMilia said. “… Our guys believe that we can win, we know we are good enough. It’s just a matter if we can play a little better than them.”  Gallery: MINK League Playoffs — Jefferson City Renegades vs. Sedalia BombersAdam Wade got the start on the mound Monday night for the Renegades. The Bombers quickly started threatening after a single and hit by pitch opened the contest.Wade quickly settled in and picked up a pop-out, strikeout and groundout to escape the inning with no damage.“It just felt good to get out it unscathed,” Wade said. “I wouldn’t say it did much for the confidence, I think I was already there, but it was definitely big.”Jefferson City was able to get run support for Wade early.Eli Hill reached base in the bottom of the first and was replaced by Aiden Baumann after a fielder’s choice. Baumann moved up to third on a Justin Rivera double and crossed the plate during the next at-bat after a pitch found the backstop for a wild pitch.“I felt like if we got a lead, it was going to be tough for them to put a lot of good swings together and (Wade) pitched amazing,” DeMilia said. “Getting that lead is always big.”Wade settled in after the first.The Bombers were only able to get two baserunners, with one getting immediately erased on a pickoff, in innings two through five and Wade had retired seven straight batters heading into the sixth.“I was just trying to throw strikes and give my team a chance,” Wade said. “… I went back to doing what I do. I didn’t want to think about it too much.”The Renegades’ offense continued to add on runs for Wade on the mound.Charlie Rogan opened the bottom of the third with a single and moved up to second after a Luke Matschiner infield hit.Rogan ran himself into the first out trying to take third before a pitch, but Jefferson City was still able to push across a run as an error moved Matschiner in position to score on a Baumann sacrifice fly.“Our guys just kept coming with the at-bats, we had great at-bats all night,” DeMilia said. “Even when we didn’t have success, we were still competing at the plate and we made it really hard on their pitchers. They were no easy outs in the lineup. Even though we had a baserunning mistake there, we followed it up with a couple good at-bats. Our guys competed their butts off tonight.”Kam Durnin restarted another run-scoring inning in the fourth with a leadoff double. After moving up to third on a wild pitch, Durnin crossed the plate on a Justin Rivera double to give Jefferson City a 3-0 lead.Hill did the same in the fifth with another leadoff double but was thrown out at third attempting to move up on a Baumann groundball to the shortstop. Baumann was able to move up to third following a wild pitch and groundout, and Durnin drove him in by lining a first-pitch single into left field. Luke Melton followed by drawing a walk to extend the inning and Nate McHugh drove in Durnin followed with an RBI single to extend the lead to 5-0.“When you put consistent at-bats together, you’re going to manage to have guys on base and you’re going to score runs,” DeMilia said. “We never had a big inning, but we never needed the big inning because we just kept plugging away. That was as good of an offensive performance as we’ve had all year because they threw good pitchers against us.”The Bombers finally got to Wade in the sixth inning with a little help from the Jefferson City defense.A pop-out recorded the first out before a groundball squeezed past Rivera at third base for a double. An infield error followed and put runners on the corners, and Zach Dillman plated his team’s first run of the game with a fly ball to center that got lost in the lights and fell for an RBI double.But Wade was able to limit the damage there and strand two runners in scoring position as he picked up a key three-pitch strikeout for the second out before a dribbler in front of the plate ended the inning.Wade ended with a final line of six innings of one-run ball while allowing five hits and striking out eight with no walks.“He kept his composure all night and he just took it pitch-by-pitch,” DeMilia said. “I think that’s the best he’s pitched all summer. He has good stuff, but his command was the biggest thing. … They had to keep hitting and fortunately he made enough pitches to get us out of (the sixth).”The Renegades responded in a big way both times Sedalia was able to score.In the bottom of the sixth, Jefferson City loaded the bases with no outs and ended up with two runs as Rivera drove in Rogan with a single and Durnin plated Matschiner with a sac fly.And after the Bombers scored three runs to cut their deficit from 7-1 to 7-4 in the top of the eighth, Durnin drove in Baumann with a groundout and McHugh extended the lead back out to five at 9-4 with his second RBI single.“Momentum shifts really fast,” DeMilia said. “They make it 7-4 and you could feel the momentum shift to their dugout. They get a zero there and they come up (in the ninth) with the momentum still. When you respond back and get a couple, you take all the momentum away and put the pressure on them. That was a great effort there.”The Bombers could’ve ended up with more than three runs in the eighth but Durnin made sure they didn’t.With runners on first and second with two outs, Chase Stumfall grounded a ball to Durnin’s right at shortstop. Durnin was able to secure the ball while sliding into the outfield grass and fire the ball to second before he stopped his slide, nabbing the runner at second who had slowed his pace after not expecting the throw.“Kam is a freak, man,” DeMilia said. “That was an unbelievable play. I thought there was no chance we were making an out off the bat.”Connor Polli was called on to close the game in the ninth after a leadoff walk. Polli entered in a 2-0 count to the second batter, but it did not matter as a flyout, fielder’s choice and strikeout looking followed to end the game.Jefferson City ended with 16 hits in the contest. Rogan led the way with his 4-for-4 effort from the No. 9 spot, Durnin went 2-for-4 with three RBI, Rivera added three hits and Hill, McHugh and Matschiner all had two hits.Sedalia was led by Nic Beech, Indy Stanley and Daltom Miller with two hits each.

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