The Cassville American Legion baseball team began its 2008 season in much the way it ended the 2007 campaign -winning. The local Legion team started off with an 8-0 victory against Monett last week.
The score was deadlocked at zero until Cassville scored the first run in the third. Jody Cavness led the inning off with a single and was followed by a hit by Kason Koelsch, a sacrifice from Blue Eye's, Tyler Miller and a sacrifice fly from Michael Baker that scored Cavness.
Cassville really opened the game up in the fifth. Kelby Haynes led off with a single, and Cavness followed that by reaching on an error by the pitcher. Ricky Vanderpool then laid down a bunt to push both runners into scoring position.
Miller walked next, giving Baker a bases-loaded situation. Baker delivered when the second baseman couldn't handle his shot off the bat. Baker's hit scored two runners for a 3-0 lead.
Cody Pierson then picked up an RBI when another pitcher's error allowed him to reach. After another out, Josh Hartin from Southwest directed another ball toward second base that again could not be handled, scoring two more runs and giving Post #118 a 6-0 lead.
The Wildcats pushed two more runs across in the sixth. Haynes led off with a double, and Cavness followed him with an RBI single. Miller walked and then Baker doubled, scoring Cavness and giving Cassville the 8-0 lead.
Monett made it interesting in the seventh, garnering a walk and a hit before Cassville's pitcher, Baker, shut the door.
Baker picked up the complete game win on the mound. He went all seven innings, needing only 88 pitches. Baker allowed three hits and two walks but struck out five.
Baker also led Cassville at the plate. The future collegiate athlete went one-for-three with a double, a run, four RBI and a sacrifice.
Haynes and Cavness also had good games, finishing a combined five-for-eight with a double, five runs and an RBI.
Others garnering a hit for Cassville were Koelsch, Miller and Hartin.
Overall, the team batted for a .310 average while Monett's combined batting average was .120.
Leading Monett was Purdy's Ryan Veith, who went two-for-three at the plate. Chris Bennett and Josh Wiseman, also from Purdy, played for Monett as well. Both garnered walks in the contest.
The Legion's junior varsity squad won one and lost two at the Glendale Tournament.
Cassville's Jake Nolan picked up the 4-3 victory over Branson on the hill, while David Lunsford was charged for the 9-10 loss against Glendale and Jamie Musick earned the 5-8 loss against Springdale (Ark.) Harber.