A four-run rally in the ninth and a pair of 10th inning runs propelled the Fremont Moo to an 8-6 victory over Sioux Falls Sunday night in the final game before the All-Star Break.
The victory gives the Moo a two-game lead in the Clark Division second-half race heading into the All-Star Break. The win gives Fremont a 7-5 lead in the season series, including a 5-3 advantage in the last eight matchups, played in the last 10 days.
Trailing 5-2 going to the top of the ninth, The Moo rallied. Trent Sellers led off the inning with a double to left. Darien Morphew and Peyton Leeper drew walks to load the bases for Dillon Sears, who singled to right to score Sellers to cut the Sunfish lead to 5-3. Push followed with an RBI single to left, scoring Leeper. An RBI single to right by Austin Baskin scored Sears to tie the game at five. Two batters later, Trey Nichols hit a grounder to third that McClure couldn’t handle. The error scored Push to give Fremont a 6-5 lead.
Sioux Falls responded in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Will Olson tripled to center, then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at six, sending it to extra innings.
The Moo took the lead for good in the top of the tenth. Sellers was placed on second as the tiebreaker runner to begin extra innings. With Morphew at the plate, Sellers moved to third on a wild pitch. Morphew drew a walk to put runners at the corners. A Leeper groundout to second scored Sellers and gave the Moo a 7-6 lead. A Sears lineout to right moved Morphew to third. Then, with Tyler Push at the plate, a wild pitch scored Morphew to give Fremont an 8-6 lead.
Sioux Falls (25-23 overall/11-6 second half) took the lead in the bottom of the second. The inning started with back-to-back singles by Will Olson and Zeph Hoffpauir. Then with two outs, Dane Fraser lined a two-run single to center, scoring Olson and Hoffpauir to give the Sunfish a 2-0 lead.
Then in the third, two walks and a single to left loaded the bases for Norris McClure, who singled to left to drive in Adonis Forte II to push the Sioux Falls lead to three. After a walk loaded the bases again, Nolan Meredith struck out Hoffpauir and induced a grounder to first by Declan Beers to get out of the jam with no further damage for Fremont (33-15/13-4).
The Moo chipped into that deficit in the top of the fifth. Three straight walks to Trent Sellers, Darien Morphew and Peyton Leeper loaded the bases ahead of Dillon Sears, who blooped a two-run single to right to score Sellers and Morphew and cut the Sunfish lead to 3-2.
Sioux Falls got a run back in the bottom of the sixth. Hoffpauir swung at the first pitch thrown by Levi Kiuchi and lined it to left field for a single. He moved to second on a passed ball, then scored on a single to left by Dane Fraser. Forte followed with a single to right, but a terrific throw from Trent Sellers to cut down Fraser at the plate kept the game at 4-2, Sunfish.
Daring baserunning by Sioux Falls pushed their lead to three. Jonathan Brandon doubled down the leftfield line. With McClure at the plate, Brandon stole third. Then with McClure chasing a curve in the dirt for strike three, Jack Simonsen threw to first to retire McClure. As the throw went to first, Brandon stole home to push it to 5-2, Sunfish before the Moo rallied in the top of the ninth.
Fremont will send three representatives to the Expedition League All-Star Game in Casper, Wyo. Pitchers Brody Sintek and Trent Sellers, along with first baseman EJ Taylor, will play in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Two other Moo players, third baseman Austin Callahan and outfielder Brock Reller were selected but will not participate. After the All-Star break, Fremont will return to historic Moller Field for a two-game series against Western Nebraska, the first-half Clark Division champions. The Moo and Pioneers will square off Thursday at 7:05 pm and Friday at 7:05 pm. The games can be heard on FremontMoo.com and Big Dog 98.9 FM and 1340 am.