Wildcats are Big 8 Conference co-champions

Thursday, May 18, 2006
Baseball seniors are recognized Senior members of the 2006 Cassville Wildcat baseball team were honored before the start of Friday's home game against East Newton. The squad celebrated Senior Night by dominating the Patriots 20-2 and clinching a share of the Big 8 Conference title. Pictured above, from left, are: Spencer Lynch and and his dad, Kevin Lynch; Bryan Gryder and parents, Steve and Joanie Gryder, of Shell Knob; Ashton Dorris and his parents, Shelly and Bill Dorris, of Cassville; Clay Craig and his parents, Rhonda and David Craig, of Cassville; Brett Buchanan and his parents, Carrie and Danny Buchanan, of Golden; Michael Brooks and his parents, Sherri and Kerry Brooks, of Cassville; and Jason Bromley and his parents, Mark and Marina Bromley, of Cassville. Democrat Photo (b)

With a big win over East Newton on Friday, the Cassville Wildcat baseball team claimed a share of the the Big 8 Conference crown. Cassville and Seneca are the 2006 Big 8 Conference co-champions.

To earn this honor, the Wildcats amassed a 7-1 conference record. Their final win over the Patriots was a big one as Cassville defeated their visitors 20-2.

"We controlled both parts of the game, scoring runs and pitching, to share a Big 8 Conference title with Seneca," said Coach Rod Hemphill. "We have been close in the past, but we haven't been at the top since 2001."

The Wildcats would score 14 runs in the second inning and then would get another six in the third to get the win.

"It was nice to get those runs, so we could rest our starters and get our younger players some game time," said Hemphill.

Cassville got a total of 16 hits in the game, at least one hit per every starter. Brett Buchanan went three-for-three with three RBIs, Jason Bromley had two hits and five RBIs, Michael Brooks had two hits and three RBIs, and Spencer Lynch and Ashton Dorris collected two hits apiece. Tim Orrell, Clay Craig, Bryan Gryder, Kelby Haynes and Aaron Jamieson all had one hit each also.

Dorris got the start for the Wildcats and went two innings to pick up the victory, allowing no runs on one hit, no walks and one strikeout. Brooks came in as relief and went two-thirds of an innings, striking out both batters he faced. Dannon Rose finished the game on the mound, going two and a third innings.

In addition to facing off against East Newton and completing their Big 8 schedule, the Cassville Wildcats played three other games, one a regular season make-up game against Purdy and the other two were played as part of the Republic Tournament.

The first game of the tourney for the Wildcats was against Monett. It was a close one, but the Wildcats played hard to get the win. The 'Cats started off very slow but scored in the middle innings to get the 7-6 victory.

"Both teams are very familiar with each other," said Coach Hemphill.

Bromley had two hits with two RBIs and two runs scored, leading the way for the Wildcats. Lynch, Haynes, Gryder and Cory Lebow all added one hit apiece to help with the victory.

Dorris went seven full innings to get the win.

"He settled down after the first inning and pitched well," said Assistant Coach Pete Rose.

After the win, the Wildcats played Reeds Spring on Thursday, after the rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Wildcats picked up the victory by a score of 7-6.

In this game, the Wildcats scored early in the first four innings with Buchanan leading the way with three hits. Lynch also came through, collecting two hits with two RBIs and two runs scored. Orrell, Craig, Brooks, Bromley, Dorris, Haynes and Lebow all tallied one hit apiece.

Haynes got the start for the Wildcats but was on a pitch count and went four strong innings, picking up his fifth won of the year.

Craig came on in relief and went two innings, also getting relief help from Dorris. In the bottom of the seventh, Dorris took the mound with runners on first and second base and no outs. He would strike out the first batter and then forced a grounder on the next batter, getting him out, but it moved the

runners to second and third in the process. He would then strike out the next batter, preserving the win for the Wildcats.

"This was a big win for us, because overall, we didn't play that well but still got the victory," said Hemphill.

The Wildcats closed their regular season play against Purdy in a make-up game on Saturday. This game was very close until Cassville broke it open in the middle innings, scoring four runs in the fourth, one more in the fifth and five more in the sixth, to get the 12-4 win.

Brooks was the starting pitcher and he went five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, seven walks and six strike-outs, to pick up his first victory of the

year. Craig came in as relief for Brooks and pitched two innings.

"Craig came in and looked real sharp," said Coach Rose.

Offensively, Dorris led the Wildcats, going four-for-four with three RBIs and a triple. Gryder went three-for-three with a RBI, and Orrell and Brooks both collected two hits each.

Bromley had only one hit, but it was a home run, his first of his career. Bromley also had a great game behind the plate, throwing out runners and blocking the ball.

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