Wildcats fall in district semis to MV

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Fielding the ball Chuck Nickle Photography Wildcat shortstop Ricky Nichols fields a ground ball during Cassville's semi-final loss to Mt. Vernon on Monday night. Despite a strong rally, the Wildcats couldn't overcome an early 5-0 deficit and fell 10-8 to end their season.

For the third consecutive year, the Cassville Wildcats fell in the semi-finals of the district baseball playoffs.

On Monday at Monett, the second-seeded Wildcats were tripped up 10-8 by third-seeded Mt. Vernon.

"It's not the ending we envisioned," said Cassville Coach Kyle Woods. "I thought we gained momentum throughout the game. We just couldn't get on top."

The Wildcats fell into an early 5-0 hole as Mt. Vernon pounced out of the gate in the first inning.

Cassville would scratch out a run in the bottom of the first when John Cavness scored from third on a double steal.

The Mountaineers' Cody Lee hit a two-run homer in the top of the second as Mt. Vernon opened up a 7-1 lead. The Mountaineers would add single runs in the third and fourth innings.

Cassville would not fade easily into the night. The Wildcats roared back with two runs in the third, three runs in the fourth and two runs in the fifth inning and trailed 9-8 heading into the sixth inning.

"I really thought we were going to pull this one out," said Woods. "We were hitting the ball and running the bases well. You can't allow yourself to fall in 5-0 holes and expect to come back in every game."

Mt. Vernon added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on an Andy Weldy RBI triple.

Cassville loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the seventh but could get the much needed clutch hit.

"I didn't keep the boys long in our post-game meeting," said Woods. "We are only losing one player to graduation (Evan Stubblefield). Evan has been a wonderful player for our team, and we are going to miss him.

"I told the boys that next year begins tonight, and we have to start working now, so that we don't have to experience these types of losses again."

The Wildcats finish their season with a 12-10 record and were Big 8 Co-Conference champions.

Quarterfinal game

On Saturday, Cassville defeated East Newton 15-5.

The Patriots scored four times in the top of the first to put the Wildcats in a hole.

Cassville stormed back in the bottom half of the first with seven runs. The Wildcats would score a single run in the second, three runs in the third and two runs in the fourth and fifth innings to activate the mercy run rule.

Cavness picked up the win on the mound for the Wildcats.

Ricky Nichols was four-for-four at the plate with a triple and two home runs.

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