By TONY ADAME
WICHITA -- A handshake is commonly considered a gesture of friendship, a welcoming invitation between two people to, in most cases, either greet, agree or make peace.
None of those connotations crossed Sedalia (Mo.) Bombers pitcher Sam Perez's mind when he saw manager Jud Kindle approaching the mound during the eighth inning with a hand extended.
"I knew what it meant, I knew what he was trying to do without him even saying it," said Perez, a junior at Missouri State. "I knew he was trying to pull me because he was coming up with the handshake. No way I wasn't going to pitch the ninth."
And with that, Kindle walked back to the dugout -- sans handshake -- and Perez walked away with a complete-game shutout in the Bombers' 2-0 win over the Derby Twins on Tuesday night in the NBC World Series.
Perez struck out seven, gave up six hits and walked one.
"(Perez) kind of had that look in his eye," Kindle said. "He was right around his pitch count in the eighth and our plan was to go to the relief pitcher ... but he wanted the ninth."
Sedalia improved to 3-0 in the tournament and can advance to the championship week of the NBC World Series with a win Wednesday night, against the winner of Tuesday's late game between the Haysville Aviators and San Diego Force.
"They chipped away at us, they executed when we didn't," Derby manager David Allbritton said. "What's happened this whole tournament, it seems like, is we've left runners on base."
The Twins left four runners stranded Tuesday, had six hits to Sedalia's three. Ladgie Zotyka was the losing pitcher for Derby, striking out five but struggling with his control and giving up five walks.
Derby must win twice on Wednesday to stay alive -- they play the Kansas Cannons at 1 p.m. and the winner of that game will play again at 10 p.m.
"I'm confident that if we play how we're capable of, we're going to be OK," said Derby third baseman Chase Rader, a Wichita State signee from Coffeyville Community College who went 1 for 3. "But we didn't execute very well tonight."
The unsung hero for Sedalia on Tuesday was outfielder and Kevin Gratza -- he grounded into a double play in the second inning with no outs that scored Tony Sandifer for a 1-0 lead, then executed a perfect squeeze play in the sixth inning that scored Robert Prieto for a 2-0 lead and the game's lone RBI.
Gratza, an All-MIAA pick for Central Missouri, credited the Mules' use of small ball.
"That's all we practice at Central Missouri, man ... double squeezes, regular squeezes, bunt, bunt, bunt," he said. "When (Kindle) looked at me and asked what I thought of a squeeze right there I told him I could get it down. So he told me to go do it, then."