The second edition of the Tyler Jeck Memorial Benefit game between the Joplin Outlaws and the Nevada Griffons saw the presentation of a $53,000 check for the Tyler Jeck Foundation, the highlight of the event Wednesday night at JayCee Ballpark.
On the field, Nevada parlayed a seven-run second inning, a six-run sixth and a four-run eighth into a 17-7 MINK Collegiate League win. The Griffons capitalized on four Outlaw errors and general sloppiness. Joplin was outhit by one — 15-14 — during a double-digit loss.
“That’s kind of been how the season’s been going,” Outlaws head coach Rob Vessell said. “If we could have cleaned up our defense, this could have been a whole different ballgame. To come out here with a great crowd and especially for the great cause of the Jeck family, I was hoping we’d come out and play with a little more fire but I was proud of our offense. We stuck through it and swung the bats well tonight. That second inning, seven runs, that’s always tough to come back from.”
In that second inning, the Griffons scored their seven on four hits and two errors. Adam Bax pitched a 1-2-3 first but he was only able to retire one Griffon in the second. No. 8 hitter Cal Hogan put Nevada on the board with a two-run double, scoring Austin White and Jack Goihl, and the Griffons scored runs in a variety of ways, capped off by an Alex Lang RBI single.
The Outlaws finally caught up with Nevada starter Marcus Ethen in the fifth. Matt Turner started the rally with a single, Joseph Gardner laced a double and Nick Moore plated Turner and Gardner with a triple down the right field line. Zac Stewart continued the cardiovascular workout of Nevada right fielder David Chew; Chew snagged Stewart's rope down the line but Stewart was able to score Moore on the play with his sacrifice fly.
Joplin cut the Nevada lead to 7-3, after four shutout innings by Ethen (incoming sophomore at Nebraska-Omaha, formerly of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and now Division I in the Summit League).
Nevada answered right back the next half-inning with a pair of runs on a two-run Michael Douglas single and Douglas scored on a dropped fly ball. The onslaught continued with a Brandon Downs RBI single, an Austin White RBI double and the Griffons ended their rally with a 13-3 advantage.
“We were down 7-3 and they had a leadoff guy on,” Vessell said. “We had a chance for a double play and we messed that up. That ended up second and third with no outs and the next thing you know they put up the six-spot. Anytime you give a team like Nevada extra outs in one inning, it’s always tough to come back and win a ballgame.”
Page 2 of 2 - Kyle Dickens and Enrique Finol hit back-to-back singles in the bottom half of the sixth but the Outlaws were unable to push across a run as Ethen retired three straight Outlaws. Ethen left the game after six with a 10-run lead.
Joplin pushed across one in the seventh on a Max Ayoub RBI single. Baxter Springs native Colton Krokroskia reached on an ideal bunt single up the third base line but was later thrown out at home by right fielder Chew to retire the side, Joplin down 13-4.
In the eighth, Goihl padded on two runs with a double to right, taking Nevada to 15 runs. Chew made it 16-4 with a 4-3 RBI groundout. Another RBI grounder resulted in a 13-run lead.
In the ninth, Joplin closed out the scoring with an Ayoub two-run double and Dickens RBI single.
Inclement weather forced a 30-minute delay to the start of the game.
The rain started coming down somewhere around 6:30 p.m. and increased heavily in tempo at 6:44 p.m., belting the roof of the ballpark seating with a steady pelting rhythm. Members of the Midwest Minerals Brewers championship Dick Webb Machine Pitch team seemed to be unfazed, occasionally running back and forth in the pouring rain. At one point, their coach Brian Pasteur rounded them up and seated them in an orderly row two rows up behind home plate. The rain dissipated by 7 p.m., leaving that pleasant fresh rain smell in the air before the 7:30 p.m. first pitch.
The Brewers received a full-blown pregame introduction just like the Outlaws, something they will remember the rest of their lives. Cruz Lopez, racing in the Mustard suit, won the Hot Dog Race in a near photo-finish after the Griffons plated seven in the second and Garrett Hanson won another race. The Brewers are Lopez, Hanson, Tucker Akins, Brandon Bishop, Ben Bolinger, Jett Burgess, Ryan Ecton, Benney Gomez, Quentin Mansfield, Jackson McKechnie, Bo Pasteur and Jarod White.
The game brought out members of the St. Mary's Colgan baseball team past and present, Frontenac alums Blake Vail and Bryan Wade (wearing his Wisconsin-Parkside hat), as well as incoming senior Brett Macary of Frontenac, current Pittsburg Post 64 players and former Pittsburg High and Post 64 players Matt Clark and Jordan Elliott, who all played with or knew Tyler Jeck. The showing reflected the lives Jeck touched during his lifetime.
Angus, the Outlaws mascot, made a cameo on press row in the bottom of the third. He skedaddled down a couple rows and picked on some of the Colgan players.
MINK Collegiate Baseball League
Tyler Jeck Memorial Benefit Game
at JayCee Ballpark
Nevada Griffons 17, Joplin Outlaws 7
NEV 070 006 040 — 17 15 1
JOP 000 030 103 — 7 14 4
Marcus Ethen, J. McMahon (7), Andrew Goot (8), Cody Faulkner (9) and Brandon Downs. Adam Bax, Aaron Bedsworth (2), Reed Morton (6), Trey Watson (8) and Joseph Gardner. WP: Ethen. LP: Bax. E: Cal Hogan; Gardner, Matt Turner 2, Zac Stewart. 3B: Nick Moore. 2B: Hogan, Austin White, Jack Goihl; Gardner, Max Ayoub. SF: Stewart.