Cassville drops "tough" game to Reeds Spring

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Fair ball Chuck Nickle Photography Tyler Craig, a sophomore at Cassville, stretches for a ball at third base during Monday's game against Reeds Spring. The Wildcats finished the season 15-8.

The Cassville Wildcats baseball season ended in extra inning as they fell 2-1 to the Reeds Spring Wolves in the Class 3, District 12 semi-finals at Mt. Vernon Monday night.

"Baseball is a tough game," said Cassville coach Kyle Wood. "I told the boys that sometimes you lose a game even when you play well. It was a tough loss to a tough team."

The Wildcats entered the the contest on a two-game winning streak.

Last Tuesday, Cassville earned a 3-2 decision over Purdy, an in the first game of the district tournament the Wildcats dispatched the Lamar Tigers 7-2.

Ben Makela was solid on the mound for the Wildcats. He threw all eight innings, allowed three hits, two runs and struck out four.

The Wolves got on the board in the first inning. Kaz Woodward singled, then stole second and moved to third on an error. With two outs, John Locke singled up the middle to score Woodward and give Reeds Spring the early 1-0 lead.

Cassville's offense was stymied by Woodward. A Makela single in the second innign would be the only hit he yielded.

"We hit the ball hard," said Wood. "We just hit it right at their defenders. The boys were doing what we asked of them. Both teams played their hearts out."

The Wildcats' offensive frustration could be summed up in one at bat. Ricky Nichols led off the fourth inning crushing a shot to deep left field.

Joey Longstreet, the Wolves' left fielder retreated all the way to the wall leaping at the last possible second and reached over the fence to rob Nichols of a home run. Not only did Longstreet catch the ball but he maintained possession of his prized cargo as he crashed hard into the ground.

"I always felt that we were going to have that breakout inning where we would score four or five runs," said Wood. "(Longstreet) made a whale of a catch to take a run away from us. It was a pitcher's night."

The Wildcats didn't fade quietly.

Garrett Kirk walked to open the fifth inning. He moved to third on Stone Phelps sacrifice bunt and scored on Tyler Craig's ground out to knot the score 1-1.

In the top of the eighth inning, Josh Grunvold reach base on a fielders choice. He stole second and moved to third on an error. Lucas McDannold drove a ball to deep center field to score Grunvold.

John Locke nailed down the top of Cassville's lineup to secure the victory in the bottom half of the eighth.

"We are losing a quality group of seniors," said Wood. "We have an oppurtunity for some of our younger guys to step up and fill the gaps. The key for us is to get better this summer. Play ball as much as we can."

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