Wildcats are Big 8 co-champs

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A conference championship is always worth waiting for.

The Cassville Wildcats finished off East Newton on Wednesday to earn a tie for the Big 8 Conference baseball title with Carl Junction. Ben Makela earned the win in the 9-4 victory with John Cavness coming in to record the final five outs in the sixth and seventh innings.

The game had been postponed until Wednesday, May 4 after being rained out after three innings. Play resumed on Wednesday afternoon with East Newton leading 3-2 and batting in the top of the fourth inning.

The Patriots added a run, benefiting from four walks. A double play helped get the Wildcats off the field down by only 4-2. In the bottom of the fourth, Cassville loaded the bases but stranded all three runners.

Makela shut down the Pats in the top of the fifth and then the Wildcats offense came to life. Cassville took a 5-4 lead, scoring three runs. Ricky Nichols doubled, went to third base on a sacrifice grounder by Trey Rose and scored on a passed ball. Cavness singled and scored on a Josh Sexton double, and then Sexton scored when the East Newton defense misplayed a Garrett Kirk hit.

Makela pitched into a jam in the sixth inning, but Cavness came on to erase the threat. The Wildcats then posted four more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 9-4 lead. Rose sparked the scoring with a two-RBI triple.

Cavness retired the Pats in order in the top of the seventh, getting two ground balls and a strikeout to end the game.

With the victory, Cassville improves to 9-8 overall and 6-1 in the conference.

"With this win, Cassville tied with CJ for Co-Big 8 Champs," said Cassville's Kyle Wood. "This is the fourth year in a row Cassville has been the conference champion. Cassville was the only Big 8 team to beat CJ this year."

Cassville received the #2 seed in the district tournament that starts Saturday, May 14. The Wildcats will play East Newton in the first round at Monett.

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