'Cats pick up first wins of season

Thursday, March 31, 2011
On target Chuck Nickle Photography The Wildcats' Austin Deffenbaugh throws a strike during Cassville's game against Seneca on Friday. The Wildcats fell 12-3 to the Indians in the tournament championship game.

Although the Cassville Wildcats broke out of their winless streak, they ran out of gas on the final day of the Cassville Classic and dropped the championship game to Seneca, 12-3. Still, victories over Southwest and Aurora helped improve Cassville's record to 2-4 on the young season. Purdy earned the third place trophy, and Pierce City took fifth.

Tournament Recap

Tuesday's games

Cassville 1, Southwest 0

Jake Shrum deserved better. Southwest's junior hurler held Cassville scoreless for five and a half innings but got no run support. Cassville's Ben Makela went one better. Makela threw six innings of shutout baseball, surrendering only four hits while striking out nine Trojans.

Ricky Nichols doubled in the bottom of the sixth inning and scored the game's only run on an RBI off the bat of John Cavness.

While the Wildcats recorded their first win of the season in dramatic fashion, Southwest's Kenny Ferguson was proud of his team's effort.

"We almost shocked the world," Ferguson said.

Cassville 7, Aurora 4

Cassville was cruising with a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning when Aurora's Dallas Peterson lashed a two-out, two-RBI double to cut the lead to 5-3. Cavness struck out Nathan Mueller for the third out to douse the threat.

Cassville regained a four-run advantage on Josh Sexton's moon shot over the left field fence in the bottom of the fifth and went on to win, 7-4.

Cavness threw five innings and struck out nine to match Makela's Tuesday total. Trey Rose came on in the sixth and got the save.

Aurora 6, Southwest 1

The Houn's recovered to take the late game from Southwest, 6-1. Austin Hicks singled and scored on a bases-loaded passed ball to give Aurora an early lead. Michael Parbury scored moments later when Cory Gregory hit into a fielder's choice for an RBI.

Southwest's only run came in the top of the second when Drake Douglas went home on an RBI double from Seth Delossantos.

Thursday games

Purdy 11, Pierce City 1

Purdy's Riley Veith threw a no-hitter, striking out 12 in the six-inning game.

Seneca takes two

Seneca edged Purdy 13-12 in a slugfest and then defeated Pierce City 17-4 in five innings.

Friday games

Pierce City 7, SW 4

In the fifth place game, Pierce City downed Southwest, 7-4, then Purdy defeated Aurora 3-1 to earn the third place trophy. Landon Terry pitched all seven innings for the Eagles, allowing only four hits.

Seneca 12, Cassville 3

In the championship game between Cassville and Seneca, the Wildcats broke on top early, 1-0. But Seneca loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning, and then the Indians reached Sexton for four consecutive hits. Seneca held a 5-1 lead after two innings.

The Indians went on to win the tourney title, 12-3, behind a two-for-three performance at the plate by Marty Mailes.

"Coach Weldy and I are starting to see signs of where we want to be as a team," said Cassville's Kyle Wood after the tournament. "We have to become a lot more consistent in several areas if we want to be able to compete for a fourth straight Big 8 title."

While Wood was encouraged by the two wins, he wanted his players to understand that the bar is always set high at Cassville.

"The weekend did not end how we wanted it too, losing our tournament to Seneca," he said. "We will not be satisfied as a team until we can throw more strikes, play better defense and hit the ball more effectively in crucial situations.

"We have the talent to be a good team; we just haven't put things together yet," Wood added.

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