Cortlen Austin whacked a bases-clearing, three-run double in the fourth inning and Dalton Cristian pitched seven strong innings as the Sedalia Travelers Post 642 edged St. Joseph Post 11 4-3 in the opening round of the AAA Zone 2 Tournament at Dey Field at Liberty Park Stadium.
Austin’s double turned out to be the game-winner as the Travelers increased their lead 4-0 after four innings.
Christian had a stellar performance on the hill for seven innings. He was lifted in the eighth after giving up a run on two hits and two walks. For the game, Christian allowed one run, four hits, struck out eight and walked four in seven-plus innings on the hill.
Aaron Skinner came on in relief for the Travelers in the eighth and gave up another run but got a double play from first baseman Jordan Dey with the bases loaded in the eight. Dey took a grounder with the bases loaded, stepped on first and threw home for an innng-ending double play as Sedalia led 4-2 after eight.
Skinner gave up another run in the ninth and St. Joseph had the tieing and winning runs in scoring position with two outs.
Traveler head coach Mark Carey again went to his bullpen and brought in left-handed Collen Nolting.
Nolting closed the game out as Christian made a great, shoestring catch of a shallow fly ball to right to end the game and advance the Travelers to the zone semifinals aganst the Lee’s Summit Outlaws Friday afternoon.
St. Joseph outhit the Travelers 7-6.
Zac Bishop and Christian had two hits each for the Travelers.
The Travelers improved to 19-32 on the season.
In Thursday’s other game, Independence Post 21 beat the Rod’s Sports A’s of Blue Springs 3-1. Post 21 advanced to play Fike Post 499 in Friday’s other semifinal. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.