Wildcats are Big 8 champs

Monday, May 18, 2009
Home run hero Cassville's William Alberson is greeted at home plate after smashing a three-run home run in the top of the second inning during the Wildcats' game against Mt. Vernon last week. The win over the Mountaineers cemented Cassville's hold on the Big 8 Conference championship. Photo by Steve Fairchild/Lawrence County Record

By Travis Mounce

It's official. The Cassville Wildcats have won the Big 8 Conference baseball championship for the second year in a row. The team's 20-5 victory over Mt. Vernon last Thursday cemented their place at the top of the league, and the Wildcats are heading into district play this Saturday with plenty of momentum.

Against the Mountaineers, the Wildcats struck early, swinging the bat with a ferocity that might make Manny Pacquiao envious as Aaron Brooks, Aaron Jamieson, Jake Nolan and Travis Northern delivered hits for the Wildcats.

Northern and Nolan were both credited with one RBI apiece as the Wildcats took an early 2-1 lead before igniting a seven-run onslaught in the second inning, which included hits from Vinee McCracken, Brooks, Jamieson (who had two RBI), Ricky Vanderpool and William Alberson, who belted out a huge three-run homer.

"After the first inning, we hit the ball as well as we have all year," said Coach Rod Hemphill.

Mt. Vernon posted four runs in the second inning to make it a 9-5 game, but Cassville continued to crank out hits like a well-lubed machine, putting up five runs in the third with hits from Pierson, Jamieson, Nolan, Northern and a devastating grand-slam coming off Tanner's bat to push the score to 14-5.

As if the situation wasn't bleak enough for the Mountaineers, the punishment continued in the fourth inning as the Wildcats blasted out six more runs with McCracken, Brooks and Pierson each collecting hits before Jamieson's two-run homer capped off a huge 20-5 victory.

The Wildcats listed huge figures for the game with many players contributing runs and RBI.

Brooks had a great day, both defensively and at the plate, going three-for-three with two runs scored, while Pierson went two-for-three with four runs scored and one RBI.

Nolan was three-for-four on the game, crossing the plate twice and sending two more home, and Northern finished two-for-three with two runs scored and two RBI. McCracken went two-for-four on the day with two runs scored.

Both Tanner and Alberson had one hit each and both were homeruns.

"This was a good way to make up for the Aurora loss, and it should help build our confidence going into districts," said Coach Hemphill.

Nolan earned the victory on the mound for the 'Cats, finishing strong.

"Jake threw strikes, and we played defense for the last three innings," said Pitching Coach Kyle Wood.

The varsity Wildcats are seeded second in the Class 3 District 11 tournament, which will be played at Springfield Catholic. Cassville is slated to take on seventh-seeded Aurora at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. Forsyth is the top-seeded team in districts.

JV Action

Coach Wood and the JV Wildcats concluded their season by defeating Mt. Vernon 9-5.

Evan Stubblefield, Trey Rose and Bo Blisard delivered solid performances at bat for the Wildcats with Rose and Blisard sharing the win for the JV bullpen.

The JV 'Cats finished the season with a 9-5 record.

"I want to thank all of the players and parents for another successful season," said Coach Wood.

Members on the JV roster are Colton Beck, Bo Blisard, Cody Cantwell, Andrew Cole, D.J. Craig, Kyle Dunivant, Josh Dyer, Bobby Joe Hartin, Mike Nolan, Evan Stubblefield, Trey Rose and Mason Wilks.

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