Wildcats split even for the week

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cassville baseball rebounds with big win over Reeds Spring after tough loss to Monett

By George Ulmer

Despite the huge amount of rainfall southwest Missouri has received recently, the Cassville Wildcat baseball team managed to play two games last week, splitting their decisions to move to 2-1 on the young season.

The Wildcats started their week with what was supposed to be an away contest at Monett. However, due to poor outfield conditions, the nonconference game was actually played in Cassville.

The Wildcats got off to a tremendous start. Behind good pitching from Jake Nolan, the Wildcats blasted out to an 8-1 lead in just three and a half innings.

Danny Naugle hit a double in the second to drive in the Wildcats' first run. Then Kelby Haynes did the same in the third to drive in a second. Michael Baker followed Haynes with a single that gave Cassville a 3-0 advantage.

The Wildcats found their stroke in the fourth inning when they opened up for five runs. Cassville used an error, two walks, a bunt, a single, a sacrifice fly and a double from Vinee McCracken, Andrew Gryder, Haynes, Aaron Jamieson and Baker to put up the runs.

Despite the big lead, the Wildcat defense wobbled down the stretch. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cassville surrendered five unearned runs due to errors, which narrowed the Wildcats' lead to 8-6.

The Wildcats hunkered down in the fifth and sixth innings, shutting out the Cubs due to some fine pitching by Michael Baker. In the seventh with two outs and the score 8-7, Cassville misplayed a slow roller that resulted in an 8-9 loss.

The Wildcats committed four errors on the day, and Head Coach Rod Hemphill thought that was the reason for the loss.

"We gave up eight unearned runs today and must shore up our defense," said Hemphill. "I think not playing for a week had something to do with that."

The Wildcats ended their week on a high note against Reeds Spring at home. Cassville's ace, Kelby Haynes, was the star of the show, putting on a tremendous display against the Wolves.

Haynes threw his first complete game of the year in the contest as well as his first one hitter. The senior's official stat line read: seven innings pitched, no runs, no earned runs, one hit, one walk and seven strike-outs, all of this while picking up the victory.

Cassville would have only needed one run to give Haynes the victory, but instead the line-up delivered six.

The squad quickly jumped on the Wolves, collecting three runs in the first. After a Ryan Rowley walk, Jody Cavness hit a triple and was followed by a double from Haynes and a sacrifice fly from Baker.

The Wildcats then tacked on three more runs later. Singles by Baker and Haynes along with a double from Gryder helped fuel Cassville's finishing blow.

The Wildcats are now 2-1 on the season and are slated to play on Thursday at McDonald County at 4:30 p.m. They also have two home contests next week. The first is against Crane on Monday at 4:30 p.m. and the second is against Lamar on Tuesday at 5 p.m. All games are played at Wildcat Field.

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