The Cassville Wildcats had two games this past week, closing out their season in district play at Republic.
The Wildcats' first game pitted them against rival Monett, marking the fifth time that the 'Cats had played the Cubs with each team winning two games apiece.
This would be a typical Monett versus Cassville game with both teams trading the lead back and forth.
Monett led 7-6 at the top of seventh inning, but Brett Buchanan drew a walk with one out in the inning and set the scene for a Wildcat rally. Michael Brooks then recorded a hit, which moved Buchanan to third. Brooks stole second and pinch hitter Dannon Rose came through with a bloop single over the third baseman's glove to score Buchanan.
Monett's shortstop got the ball and make an errant throw past the first baseman, which allowed Brooks to score and Cassville to take over the lead.
Ashton Dorris came in relief for Kelby Haynes in the fourth inning and pitched four strong innings. Dorris got the first out in the bottom of the seventh with a fly out. He then gave up a single, stuck out the next batter, gave up another single, and after a stolen base, found himself with runners on second and third with two outs. Dorris then proceeded to strike out the last batter to preserve the 8-7 victory.
"Ashton picked us up when Haynes didn't have his best stuff and hurled us to victory," said Coach Rod Hemphill.
Dorris also led the Wildcats at the plate by going two-for-three with one run scored and one RBI. Buchanan also came through for the Wildcats as he got two hits with one RBI. Spencer Lynch, Tim Orrell, Jason Bromley, Haynes, Clay Craig and Bryan Gryder all had one hit apiece. Brooks and Rose
also came through when it counted, recording big hits in the seventh inning.
With a first round win, the Wildcats then faced off against Ozark. Coming into the game, Ozark was ranked fourth in the state and were the first seed's in the district tournament.
Ozark took an early lead of 2-0, which held up until the sixth inning when Bromley led off with a home run to put the 'Cats on board. Next, Dorris got a single, Buchanan walked and Brooks knocked both in with a hard hit ball to the Ozark shortstop, who couldn't get a good handle on the ball and made a throwing error, putting the Wildcats up 3-2.
Cassville scored one more run in the seventh inning on a walk to Lynch and a triple by Dorris; Bromley just missed another homerun by a couple of feet.
The Wildcats led 4-2 lead at the bottom of the seventh but weren't able to hold on as Ozark came out and scored three runs on three doubles, a single and walk. The final score was 5-4 in Ozark's favor.
Haynes got the start for the Wildcats and went five and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on two hits and striking out three. Haynes was only allowed to pitch six innings due to Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA) guidelines, and Dorris came in as relief for Haynes.
Bromley and Dorris led the
'Cats with two hits each. Lynch, Brooks and Cory Lebow all had one hit apiece.
"Ozark was the best team we have faced all year," said Hemphill. "High school is about pitching and our pitchers did a great job, but Ozark isn't ranked fourth in state for no reason. It was a tough one, but Cassville held its own."
The Wildcats ended their season with an overall record of 13-8. The squad also share Big 8 Conference Champion honors with Seneca.
"Coach (Pete) Rose and I couldn't be more proud of this team's toughness, especially when only three weeks ago this team was sitting at 2-6 and 1-1," said Hemphill. "Coach Rose and I would like to thank all the parents and patrons that supported Cassville baseball. Also, the administration and Jerry Lyall's maintenance crew.
"Most of all, Coach Rose and I would like to thank the players, especially the seniors, who wore the Cassville black and gold so proudly," added Hemphill.
Senior members of the squad included Jason Bromley, Michael Brooks, Brett Buchanan, Clay Craig, Ashton Dorris, Bryan Gryder and Spencer Lynch.