JUNCTION CITY — Coming into the two-game series with Barn Baseball Academy, Junction City Brigade head coach Derek Francis stressed the importance of not sleeping on the Barnstormers. With the Midwest A’s coming into town for a doubleheader Saturday, Francis stressed that it was crucial not to overlook the Barnstormers in preparation for the A’s, who they are neck and neck with in the standings.
Even though the Barnstormers are part of league play, Francis noted it is valuable playing time for the guys to hone their skills for the games that actually do matter for their record. The Barnstormers gave two tough games on Thursday and Friday night, but the Brigade survived both.
The Brigade tagged the Barnstormers on Thursday for 25 runs, cruising to a 25-3 win. But Friday night proved to be a much tougher contest for the Brigade. The Brigade were caught in an early 9-3 deficit in the third inning, a margin they rarely have found themselves in this season. With just two losses, the Brigade needed to put together a performance that they were not accustomed to. But Junction City rallied to take a 14-9 victory.
JC cut into the lead in the bottom half of the third inning when Nic Swanson doubled and ended up scoring later via a passed ball. The two-out rally continued with walks from Cooper Turpin and Tyler Halstead and a base hit from Cooper Schlochtermeier. That loaded the bases for Carson Sader, who responded with a two-run double to pull the Brigade within three.
The Brigade continued to cut into the lead in the fourth inning. After a Ryan Gendron single, Oklahoma State product Adam Becker sent one deep to right-center over the wall to make the game 9-8. The clutch two-out slugging continued later in the fourth when Tyler Halstead brought two more home on a single to make the game 10-9.
The Brigade never surrendered the lead after that, going on to score five more runs to win 14-9.
Pitchers were used sparingly over the last two games in preparation for the much anticipated showdown with the Midwest A’s on Saturday.