The Jefferson City Renegades has the goal of hosting their first-ever MINK League postseason game.
They came up a win short.
Five Joplin pitchers combined on a shutout Saturday night as the Outlaws claimed second place in the MINK League South Division with a 6-0 victory against the Renegades at Vivion Field.
"Their pitchers did a good job," Renegades coach Mike DeMilia said. "We strung together some hits early, but we just didn't find a way to get it done.
"Then their pitchers got better as the game went along and we started to press a little bit at the plate."
After Renegades starter Xander Lovin set down the Outlaws in order in the top of the first inning, it looked like the Renegades were going to grab an early lead in the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Josef Keilholz singled to right, then advanced to second on an infield single by Brady Voss. Carter Mize followed with a single and Keilholz was held at third after rounding the bag. But Voss didn't see his teammate stop and was caught in a rundown between second and third and was tagged out. A grounder then ended the inning.
Joplin got on the board in the second. Ethan Ellis led off with a single and one out later, stole second. A single by Jared Toler put runners at the corners before Caden Bressler hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Ellis to make it 1-0.
The Renegades had a chance to get that run back in the bottom of the inning when Seth Denoyer and Caden Diel hit consecutive one-out singles to put runners at first and second. But a double play on a grounder back to the mound ended the inning.
That was the last time the Renegades had more than one baserunner in an inning.
The Outlaws added a run in the sixth when Toler doubled home Brett Weimers with two outs.
Lovin pitched the first six innings for the Renegades. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts.
"Xander did a very good job," DeMilia said.
Down 2-0, the Renegades went down in order in the sixth. In the seventh, Hamilton Anderson drew a walk to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Denoyer. But a strikeout and line out to second ended the inning. The Renegades then went down 1-2-3 in the eighth.
The Outlaws scored their final four runs in the top of the ninth, with three coming home on a bases-loaded double by Caleb Feuerstake.
Mize led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single. But the next three Renegades struck out to end the game.
"We didn't have our best at-bats in the last few innings," DeMilia said.
It's the fourth time in their four seasons the Renegades have finished third in their division and have had to hit the road for the postseason.
"We're trying to make this thing better and it seems like we treading water every year," DeMilia said. "It's frustrating for me, it's a reflection on me and I need to figure out a way to get better down the road."
One positive is they've won in this round the last two seasons, including in 2019 at Joplin.
"We still have some things we can accomplish," DeMilia said. "We have to keep plugging away."
The Joplin-Jefferson City winner will take on South Division champion Sedalia either Tuesday or Wednesday.