The Kansas City Northland Braves tried to surprise the Maupintour Travellers with a revamped lineup Sunday night, but it didn't work.
The Travellers romped to an 8-1 semi-pro baseball win, keeping their home record perfect at 12-0.
"I don't know what their lineup was. I don't really worry about it. I know we're going to score enough runs to win," said Maupintour coach Walt Houk.
The Travellers also received another strong performance from starting pitcher David Hierholzer (5-0), who struck out four and allowed just five hits and no walks.
After Northland took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Hierholzer retired the next 14 batters he faced.
"I WAS REAL happy. I threw strikes," Hierholzer said. "I'm not hitting my spots, but if I'm near the plate, I'm happy. Tonight, they were swinging at a lot of first pitches that were near the plate."
Houk said the loss of relievers Joel Bacon and Travis Earlywine made it especially crucial that his starters pitch well.
"We're working into the part of the year where we need our starters to give us innings. With guys like Hierholzer, (Andy) Markham, and (Jeff) Andruss, we need at least seven innings. It's very important," Houk said.
Hierholzer has had no problem obliging his coach. In his last two starts, he has thrown 17 innings, given up three earned runs and 11 hits, and he has walked just three.
The Travellers took the lead in the bottom of the first when Ron MacDonald smacked Joe Androtti's pitch into center field, doubling in Rod Rush and Mark Gile.
MACDONALD FINISHED with three hits and four RBIs, leading the Travellers' 11-hit attack.
The Braves tried to stifle the Travellers' bats by using a pair of left-handed pitchers, and Houk said that caused him some initial worry.
"We've had some trouble with left-handers because we have so many left-handed hitters in our lineup. Their starter kept throwing that breaking ball in the dirt, but we were able to hit him pretty well," he said.
After this week's wins over Wichita and Hays both of which are stocked with Kansas University players Houk said he felt a letdown was likely. The Travellers notched a 3-2 win over Wichita on Wednesday, and on Thursday they pounded out a 16-15 win in extra innings with Hays.
"I knew we probably wouldn't hit the ball as hard after last week. But I also knew that Dave (Hierholzer) was pitching and that means seven innings and probably no runs," he said.
The Travellers improved to 12-2, and Houk is just two wins short of No. 300. The Travellers will host Northland again at 7:30 Wednesday night.