Struggling Wildcats beat conference rivals

Thursday, April 26, 2007

By George Ulmer

The Cassville baseball Cats have fallen into a funk, according to Coach Rod Hemphill, and their 1-5 record in their last six games seems to back up the funk theory.

Cassville struggled again this week, falling victim to three of its four opponents.

On Tuesday, April 17, the Wildcats traveled to Monett (7-3, 2-0) to the lair of the Cubs. Cassville had previously played them this season and won, but this game was the official conference game and did not go Cassville s way. Monett scored quickly in the game, blasting four unearned runs in the first inning after the Wildcats had already scored one in the top of the inning. In the fifth and sixth innings, the Wildcats were able to give themselves a chance, pulling to within one run at 4-3, but two runs in the bottom of the sixth and a scoreless seventh for Cassville, ended the game; with Monett on top 6-3.

We continue to struggle defensively, giving teams too many chances, said Hemphill. Cassville committed five errors, which all but deteriorated their out-hitting Monett (11-6).

Cory Howard started the game and went five innings, giving up six runs of which none were earned. He also struck-out three while walking three and scattering five hits. Michael Baker relieved him in the sixth inning and threw one inning giving up one hit.

Aaron Jamieson had three hits in the ball game. Kelby Haynes, Howard and Jake Nolan all had two. Kason Koelsch and Jody Cavness both had one.

In their next contest, the Wildcats hosted the Seneca Indians (8-1, 3-0) in a non-conference game.

The game went back and forth between the two teams and saw only two pitchers. Heading into the seventh and final inning, the Wildcats trailed 3-2 but came up with a run and pushed the game into extra innings. Cassville then loaded the bases in the eighth and walked in the winning run.

Haynes pitched the entire game for Cassville, going eight innings while giving up three runs, one earned. He fanned six batters and walked four while picking up the win.

Baker led the team s bats, ending up with two hits and two RBI. Tim Orrell also did well, getting two hits and a run. Other hitters for Cassville were Ryan Rowley 2, Haynes, Jamieson,and Koelsch.

On what was a beautiful Friday evening, Cassville traveled to Hollister for their third game of the week.

The Wildcats, fresh off of their late-inning win over Seneca, were hoping to get back on a positive streak, while the Tigers of Hollister were looking to keep their state ranking and good play intact.

The home team struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second off three singles. The Wildcats answered back in the fourth inning. With two outs already in the inning, Koelsch got hit by a pitch, Nolan hit a double to drive him in and Danny Naugle followed that up with another RBI double and the game was tied.

The contest stayed tied until the bottom of the sixth inning. The Tigers lead-off batter singled and then scored on an error-hit single, and that set the tone for the rest of the inning.

All in all, Cassville used three different pitchers in the frame who gave up a combined six hits, eight runs and two walks. Though not all was the fault of the pitchers as the Wildcats defense made three errors in the inning. Cassville was unable to score in the seventh and lost 10-2.

Nolan started on the mound for the Cats and did fairly well. He pitched five innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits and a walk. He pitched only 73 pitches of which 44 were strikes.

Howard relieved in the fifth inning and did not get the advantage of warming up in the bullpen due to his spot on the field at third base. Howard gave up five earned runs on four hits and two walks. The junior threw 26 pitches of which 18 were strikes. Aaron Brooks closed out the game for Cassville, pitching the rest of the fifth inning. Brooks had no earned runs, gave up one hit and got his first varsity level strikeout. He threw 17 pitches, 11 for strikes.

As a team the Wildcats did went 7-for-27 (.259). They had two doubles and one stolen base but also four errors.

Koelsch led the way for Cassville in the game. He went one-for-one at the plate with a run and a stolen base. The six-hole hitter walked twice and helped turn a double play. Nolan also helped his cause. He went one-for-three with a double, an RBI and a run. Other hitters for Cassville were: Naugle (2B), Haynes 2, Cavness and Jamieson.

Cassville s last game of the week was a make up game with Lamar (3-7, 1-2) on Saturday. The Wildcats defense again evaded them, and they came away with their fifth loss of the season.

Baker started on the mound and went three innings, allowing five runs on two hits and five walks. The junior also had three strike-outs. Howard relieved Baker and gave up four hits, four walks and four runs in the last three innings. He also had three strike-outs.

Cassville s two seniors led at the plate. Koelsch had three hits with one run and one RBI as well as two steals. Orrell had two hits, a run and a RBI. Baker was the only other Wildcat to get a hit.

The Wildcats are now 7-5 (0-3). They will play three games this week, traveling to Mt. Vernon (8-5, 2-2) on Thursday for a conference matchup and to Seneca (10-, 3-0) on Friday. Next Tuesday, May 1, the Cats travel to Aurora (2-11, 0-3). Both the Mt. Vernon and Aurora games are scheduled to be broadcast on 95.9 KKBL.

JV baseball action

The Wildcat junior varsity went 1-2 this week.

Despite Aaron Brooks good pitching performance, Monett s JV shut out the young Cats and won 5-0.

The JV squad came back against Seneca in their next game, winning 2-1 in a tight battle. Ryan Pace started the game for the Wildcats and Vinee McCracken, Cody Pierson, Zac Brasher and James and William Alberson did well at the plate.

Cassville lost their third contest 5-4 in another close battle at Hollister. David Lunsford and James Alberson shared pitching duties while McCracken, Pierson and Patrick Maher did well with the bat.

The junior varsity record is now 5-4.

Freshman games

The Cassville freshmen played two games this week, both against Aurora.

Kyle Rhea was outstanding in the first game, throwing five innings and giving up only three hits. He got no help from the plate and the Cats lost 1-0.

Cassville s second game was another nail-biter but again the young Cats found themselves on the losing end at 6-5. Brett Houston did well at the plate as he went two-for-two with a run and two RBI. The freshman teams record now stands at 0-9.

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