Tradewater's first visit to Marion of the 2009 season was also marred by a brouhaha at home plate and the ejection of two Bobcat players. Between the lines, however, the Bobcats moved to 3-7 on the season and earned starter Trey Smith (2-0) another win. Nolan Muhlanney (1-1) took the loss for the Pirates.
Both teams played some ugly defense, allowing several runs to score on costly errors.
Manager Steve Fowler of the Bobcats juggled his infield again, moving Austin Messersmith to first base and regular first baseman Rob Dyer to third, perhaps as an experiment to find a backup for Dyer at first. Earlier this week, first baseman Brett Cleveringa was released after batting only .077 with seven strike-outs in 13 at-bats. The move, in part, led to some shaky plays in the field.
Even uglier than the defense was a scrap at home plate after Marion's Andy Harris was tagged out hard by Tradewater's catcher while attempting to score. General Manager Gordon Guess said the tag on Harris was made unnecessarily at his face, despite his attempt to slide away from the blocked plate.
"He hit him pretty hard, and he took offense to it," Guess said of Harris, who is spending his summer boarding at Guess' house and attends the same college from where Guess graduated, Vanderbilt University in Nashvillle.
The fight that ensued eventually led to Harris being run from the game, though Tradewater's catcher skirted ejection.
Marion's other ejection came after catcher Zach Sutton appeared to be arguing balls and strikes with the umpire.
"Nobody knows what was really said," Guess explained.
Despite, Marion kept the rivalry hot with the fireworks and a win to move to within four games of first place. Tradewater's loss moved Sikeston into first place by a half-game with the Bulls' 5-1 win over Fulton.
Meantime, Guess is excited about the prospect of Thursday's starting pitcher for the Bobcats. Aaron Barrett, shortstop Drew Barrett's older brother, is hoped to be taking the mound for Marion in the final contest of the two-game set with the Pirates. The eldest Barrett pitches for Ole Miss, an SEC rival to Harris' Vanderbilt team, and was drafted Wednesday in the 27th round by the Texas Rangers as the 814th pick overall in the Major League Baseball draft.
The 6-4, 200-pound right-handed hurler, if signed by the Bobcats by game time Thursday, would be the first draftee to ever put on a Bobcat uniform.
"That could be just what the doctor ordered," Guess said of the spark Barrett's arm is sure to create.
However, the hurler could have a short stay in Marion. Guess said he may leave in a few days to join the Cape Cod League, a summer league in New England that showcases some of the best unsigned baseball talent in the nation.
Game time is 7:05 p.m., Thursday. The Pirates will start left Ryan Tabor (1-1, 1.00 ERA), who beat Marion earlier this year.
In other KIT League action: