Young Cassville squad impresses in Arkansas Tourney

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Safely home Chuck Nickle Photography Cassville's Ty Craig scores a run during the McDonald's Tournament at Springdale, Ark., on March 15.

Despite losing several starters from a year ago, the Cassville Wildcat baseball team won two of three contests in the McDonald's Tournament at Springdale, Ark.

Cassville fell 8-5 to the Shiloh Christian Saints on March 15 but rebounded with wins over Gravett, Ark., and Siloam Springs, Ark.

"I was pleased with the weekend's outcome," said Cassville coach Kyle Wood. "We saw several areas that we need to improve on, but we also saw the potential of our team."
Throwing darts Chuck Nickle Photography Cassville senior pitcher Garrett Kirk throws out the first pitch of the season against Shiloh Christian High School on March 15. The Wildcats won two of their three contests over the weekend.

During the three-game series, the Wildcats played several sophomores and freshmen.

"The young players did a nice job playing at the varsity level for the first time. Our upperclassmen picked up where they left off last year," said Wood. "The pitchers gave us a solid effort on the mound. It is early in the season, so we will need to continue what we have been doing in practice."

Cassville opened the tournament against the three-time defending Arkansas state champion Shiloh Christian High School.

Blocking the plate Chuck Nickle Photography Cassville catcher Marcus Weatherman tags out a runner trying to score during the Wildcats' first baseball game of the year.

The Saints tallied a run in their first at-bat only to watch the black and gold storm back and take a 2-1 lead in the home half of the first inning.

Garrett Kirk led off the bottom of the first with a single followed by a walk issued to Stone Phelps.

With one out, Kirk scored on Marcus Weatherman's groundout. Phelps scored on a RBI single by Andrew Whitham.

The Saints answered with three runs in the top of the second.

The Wildcats closed the gap to 5-3 in the third when Kirk scored on a Saints' error.

Shiloh countered with a pair of runs in the fifth and single tallies in the sixth and seventh.

Gravett

On Saturday, March 16, the Wildcats showed grit and determination, battling back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, and beat the Gravett High School Lions 3-2.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Cassville's Brady Blisard reached base with a one-out single.

A Lions' error on a ball blistered off the bat of Kirk allowed Blisard to score from first.

Kirk moved from first to third on a wild pitch and scored when Ty Craig singled to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.

Weatherman and Noah Hadlow made the lead stand as they shut down the Gravett hitters from the mound.

Weatherman earned the victory, throwing five and two-thirds innings. He allowed five hits and two runs and struck out seven.

Hadlow earned the save with one and one-third innings pitched. He struck out one and allowed zero hits during his outing.

Whitham collected a single, a double and had one RBI. Alex Vanderpool had a pair of singles for the Wildcats.

Siloam Springs

The Wildcats built on the momentum generated from the Gravett win and rolled to a 13-2 victory against the Siloam Springs Panthers.

Cassville jumped out early, scoring two runs in their first at-bat.

Phelps reached first on a one-out error. Craig was then hit by a pitch.

A double by Weatherman scored Phelps and allowed Craig to reach third. A double steal scored Craig to complete the first inning.

The Wildcats tacked on another run in the second, but the Panthers scored twice in the bottom half of the inning to pull within one at 3-2.

Cassville added a single tally in the third, then exploded for a seven-run fourth.

Weatherman supplied a two-run triple to highlight the fourth frame.

The Wildcats plated two more runs in the fifth, and the defense held the Panthers scoreless to initiate the 10-run mercy rule.

Weatherman and Phelps collected three hits apiece. Weatherman belted a double and a triple and had four RBIs.

Craig earned the victory. He threw five innings, allowed two hits and two runs and collected one strike out.

"Coach (Danny) Powers and I feel that if we can continue to improve from here then we could surprise some teams and reach that potential," said Wood.

Cassville hosts Purdy today (Wednesday). First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

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