Vivion Field looked more like a launching pad than a baseball field Sunday night.
The Jefferson City Renegades hit a total of five home runs in a doubleheader against the Des Moines Peak Prospects, winning both games by run-rule. Jefferson City took the opener 11-1 in six innings and cruised to a 13-1 win in five innings in Game 2.
"The guys came out ready to play, and they obviously played pretty well," Renegades coach Mike DeMilia said. "I'm pretty happy with it."
Josef Keilholz, a Fatima graduate, and Andrew Paten, a Hickman graduate, homered in each game for the Renegades.
"We went up to Des Moines last time and got swept in two games," Keilholz said. "We just wanted to come out today, have fun and give them a little payback."
Keilholz started off the slugfest with a two-run home run down the right-field line in the bottom of the first inning in Game 1. His first career MINK League home run put the Renegades ahead 2-0.
"It was a huge step to get the momentum," Keilholz said. "I just put a good swing on it. Something with a 2-0 count, you're looking to do damage, and that's exactly what I did."
Jefferson City had 13 hits in the opener, but from the second through fifth innings, the Renegades scattered singles all across the field.
Keilholz drove an RBI single to right field in the second inning and Seth Denoyer singled through the hole between shortstop and third base to drive in another run in the fourth, making the score 4-1.
"I'm huge about putting the ball in play," DeMilia said. "Good things will happen a lot of times. You don't always have to hit the ball hard.
"We ran the bases really well, too."
The Renegades ended the game early by scoring seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, all with two outs.
Keilholz drove in his fourth run of the game with a double to right field, then Brady Voss doubled down the left-field line to push the lead to 7-1.
Two batters later, Paten hit a three-run home run to left-center field, then Carter Mize crushed a solo shot to right field — his fifth of the season — for a walk-off win.
"We put some hits together, and that's something we've struggled to do at times," DeMilia said. "Our batting average has been steadily going up.
"Top to bottom, one through nine, it was a good team effort."
The offensive output was nice, but strong starting pitching has a high value in the MINK League.
Austin Brewer delivered with a complete-game effort for the Renegades in the opener. Brewer walked two and struck out five, with the only damage being an RBI double by Kyle Berg in the top of the third inning.
"He had a great day," Keilholz said of Brewer. "Him up on the mound, he has a lot of confidence there. He brings confidence for the defense and everybody around him."
While Brewer never had a 1-2-3 inning Sunday, he minimized damaged. Four times in six innings the leadoff batter reached base, but all four times they failed to score.
"His last outing against those guys, he had a hard time for an inning or two," DeMilia said. "Today, he was able to keep his emotions in control. They hit some balls hard against him, but he didn't multiply it with a wild pitch or a bunch of walks."
Jacob Davis was the winning pitcher in Game 2, allowing one unearned run on three hits with one strikeout in three innings. Tony Neubeck struck out all six batters he faced in two innings of relief to finish the sweep.
Jefferson City scored 13 unanswered runs in the nightcap. After tying the game at 1 in the first inning, the Renegades scored three runs in the second, six in the third and three in the fourth.
Keilholz gave the Renegades the lead with a three-run home run in the second inning, giving him seven RBI in the doubleheader.
"There's a lot of confidence coming back to me," said Keilholz, who is batting .337 this summer. "I'm ready to see how far I can go."
Carter Mize had a two-run single in the third, while Drew Mize and Caden Diel each had an RBI single in the inning.
Paten capped the scoring in the fourth with his second three-run homer of the night, matching Keilholz with seven RBI in the two games and matching Carter Mize with the team lead of five home runs this season.
Nate Jessell had an RBI single in the first inning to score the only run for Des Moines (10-24).
Jefferson City (15-18) will be home the rest of the regular season, but the Renegades will take a break from MINK League play. After a day off today, the Renegades will host the JC Legends at 7 p.m. Tuesday, followed by the KC Monarchs at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The Renegades were scheduled to play the Nevada Griffons four times in the final eight days of the season, but Nevada canceled the rest of its season Friday due to a positive COVID-19 test within the organization.
"Having three days off was not the most ideal thing," DeMilia said. "It's not the best situation with losing these league games, but we can only control what we can control."