JUNCTION CITY — After splitting a two-game series with the Kansas City Monarchs, the Junction City Brigade returned to Rathert Field on Friday night to face the Topeka Golden Giants. The Brigade needed a lift from their pitching and hitting, especially with the season winding down. With the season in the home stretch, Junction City hoped to find its best version of itself before the playoffs begin.
The Brigade turned out a timely and clutch performance on Friday, routing the Golden Giants in a 14-1 win.
It started with pitching, where the Brigade turned to one of their most reliable arms in Riley Taylor. Though he surrendered more walks than usual, Taylor surrendered more walks than usual, none resulted in runs. He didn’t even allow a hit until the fourth inning, settling down after allowing a walk. The defense was outstanding, highlighted by Tyler Halstead in center field and Mac McCroskey at shortstop. With a stout defense behind him, Taylor pitched five innings, allowing only one run — and that’s all Topeka ended up scoring.
With five runs through five innings, the game already tilted in the Brigade’s favor. But in the sixth, the Brigade bats took it up another notch to put the game away.
Ed Scott and Dylan Thurber led off the frame with back-to-back walks. Mac McCroskey then squared up to bunt to put both runners in scoring position; all runners were safe after Scott beat the throw to third base.
With the bases juiced for Halstead delivered, driving in two runs on an RBI single to extend the Brigade’s lead to 7-1. Two batters later, Zane Schmidt did the same, knocking in two more in to push the advantage to 9-1. Adam Becker followed that at-bat with a base knock for himself.
Ryan Gendron put the cherry on top of the blowout victory, taking a pitch deep to left field. That three-run bomb put the Brigade up 13-1. Junction City then tacked on a final run en route to a ten-run rule victory.