A four-run rally in the final inning lifted the Claremore Pixley Pirates to a 6-5 victory and an American Legion doubleheader split with the Joplin Miners Monday at Legion Field.
Joplin opened the two-game turnpike series by winning, 7-3, and pounding out 15 hits.
The Pirates, continuing a long-standing relationship between Pixley Lumber and American Legion baseball, are the successors to the Claremore Red and White teams which participated this spring in the Diamond League.
To salvage the second game, the Pirates were forced to score four runs in their final at-bat. Some timely power turned the trick, but it was an error that allowed the deciding run to score.
Pinch-hitter Robert Heidlage started it rolling with a leadoff double. Blake Graver was next and he cracked a wall-banging triple to left. He then raced home on a wild pitch, scoring on a close play.
The umpire ruled the Joplin catcher, Russ Petersen, tagged Graver's left knee, but the extended right foot touched home plate first.
A double by Josh Jennings plated Curtis Coyle, who had walked, for a 5-5 tie.
It appeared the contest might be headed for extra innings as the next two Claremore batters were retired. It was not to be, however.
Will Kilpatrick, filling the batting slot of Pirate starting pitcher Hunter Hines, hit a sharp bouncer straight at second baseman Calvin Burr. The ball skipped past him and rolled into right field.
Jennings, at second base when the ball was hit, never slowed as he rounded third and raced home.
Claremore scored first in the game with a pair of runs in the second. A Graver double plated Hinds and Landon Coyle, each on with a single.
Hines threw three shutout innings before surrendering a run in the fourth and two runs in the fifth. Joplin tried to add insurance with two more in the top of the seventh, but Alex Coplin moved from third base to pitch. By getting the final Joplin out on an infield grounder, Coplin was awarded the pitching win.
In the opener Joplin took a first-inning lead and refused to turn loose. Three runs scored on three hits, including a triple by Barrett Noirfalise.
The Miners connected for 15 hits against four Claremore pitchers. Justine Burnette worked the first inning and gave way to Josh Jennings to start the second. Jennings went the next four, allowing a pair of Joplin runs in the third.
Jimmy Williams came on with two outs in the sixth and allowed a walk and a double. He was then replaced by Curtis Coyle who ended the threat on a grounder to shortstop.
Coyle had two outs on a double play ball in the seventh, but then Calvin Burr singled and Dane Kolkmeyer followed with an inside-the-park home run to dead center.
JOPLIN 7, CLAREMORE 3
Joplin 302 000 2 — 7 15 1
Claremore 100 001 1 — 3 9 3
McDeremrel and Macy. Burnette, Jennings (2), Williams (6), Coyle (6) and Cerrito. HR — Joplin, Kolkmeyer.
CLAREMORE 6, JOPLIN 5
Joplin 000 120 2 — 5 11 1
Cla - 020 000 4 -- 6 9 2
Simpson, Burr (7) and Petersen. Hunter, Coplin (7) and Graver.