Legion team is now 3-0 in district play
Before this week, the Cassville American Legion baseball team had not scored in double-digits, but that all changed last week.
Cassville played three games and scored in double figures in all three, leading to three district victories. The home squad toppled Carl Junction, Webb City and McDonald County.
Cassville hosted Webb City on June 16. The visitors brought many players from a one-year removed state championship team and swung the bat well.
Cassville got down in the game but had two rallying calls. The first came in the fifth inning with Webb City leading 5-2.
Danny Naugle led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and got things rolling for Cassville. Kelby Haynes, Tyler Miller and David Gilley all hit an RBI for Cassville and tied the game back at five.
From that point, both teams would go back and forth for the remainder of the game. The visitors led three more times, Cassville led once and the game was tied four times.
Webb City seemed to clinch the game when in the top of the ninth they pushed across a run on an error that gave them a 9-8 lead. However, Cassville was not out of firepower.
Miller walked to start the bottom of the ninth and two base-hits and another walk tied the game. Kason Koelsch then grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Ryan Rowley, giving Cassville a 10-9 win. Haynes picked up the win on the mound.
Cassville next traveled to Carl Junction. The home team faced one of the top pitchers in the area, Zac Porath, who neutralized the Wildcat squad during the high school season.
Every pitcher is inclined to a bad outing, and Cassville made sure Porath's was game day.
The squad roughed up Porath early and often, scoring three runs in the first inning and one more in the third. Cassville then put the game away.
Rowley singled to start the fourth inning. Cassville scored four more runs with RBIs from Jody Cavness, Haynes and Gilley.
Carl Junction made a run in the seventh inning, scoring five runs, but Cassville held on and won 12-7. Gilley picked up the win on the hill.
Cassville's last contest was against McDonald County. The Mustangs put up a fight, but Cassville proved stronger.
McDonald County's starting pitcher was a left-handed pitcher who destroyed Cassville's left-handed hitters but had much more trouble with the righties.
Cassville opened the game up with a four-run fourth inning. Chris Musick, Rowley and Jake Nolan hit three consecutive singles to open the frame. They were followed by an error, another single and a walk that left McDonald County trailing 5-1.
In the seventh inning, the score had expanded to 7-3 and McDonald County gave one last push. The Mustangs hit two singles and then a double that brought them close, but Haynes settled and struck-out two batters while getting the last to ground-out. Cassville won the game 10-6.
Haynes picked up the win on the mound, and Michael Baker got his first save.
Cassville's record improved to 7-3 overall and 3-0 in the district.
Over the three-game span, Cassville did very well offensively. The team batted for an average of .319 and had a .507 on-base percentage (OBP). Cassville scored 32 runs in three games with 27 RBI. They tallied six stolen bases and 19 walks.
Koelsch and Miller had a good week for Cassville. Koelsch batted .375, which actually lowered his season average to .405. The graduated senior had four runs, one triple, four RBI, one walk, one stolen base and two double plays.
Miller, a regular Blue Eye player, hit .272 but had an OBP of .500. He garnered one run, one double, seven RBI, one sacrifice hit, two walks and two hit-by-pitches. Miller also showed his glove work as he assisted on three double plays.
Cassville's pitching was also very good. In three games, Cassville tallied 23 strikeouts to only nine walks. They had only one wild pitch for the 399 that they threw.
Haynes (3-1) led the way, throwing 11 innings in which he gave up 12 hits and two walks. Haynes struck out 13 and posted a 3.18 ERA in his two victories. The senior pitched in all three contests.
Gilley (1-1) also did well on the mound. He went six innings, picking up his first win while striking out three. He walked two and gave up three hits. His ERA was 1.17 for the week.
The Post 118 team will play at Carl Junction on Thursday and Aurora next Tuesday. Both games begin at 6 p.m. The squad will also play this weekend in the Monett Tournament.
The junior varsity also played this week, beating Carl Junction 11-0 in three innings. Jamie Musick was a big part of Cassville's offense, going two-for-two with three RBI. Aaron Brooks picked up the win, pitching three innings while striking out two batters.