Cassville Post #118 falls to Monett
By Tony Eagleburger
Monett Post #91 and Cassville Post #118 American Legion baseball squads squared off Tuesday, July 16 at McDonald County, as American Legion District 15 opened first round tournament play.
The contest marked the fifth time that the Barry County rivals played this summer, with each team winning two apiece prior to Tuesday's game. This matchup belonged to Monett as Post #91 rolled to a 23-6 win
The first inning started out promising for Coach Kyle Wood's Cassville squad, as Leigh Cox blooped a single down the right field line. He promptly stole second and headed to third on an errant throw.
Gabe Kirk followed with a screaming liner to left center to drive in Cox. With two outs, Cassville's Austin Hancock laid down an outstanding bunt single with two outs to extend the top of the first.
Andrew Whitham then hit a sharp grounder between first and second, forcing the Monett second baseman, Jordan Hall, to range deep to his left, and end Cassville's half of the first.
Coach Michael Calhoun's team was quick to answer in the bottom of the first.
Kole Kelley jumped on an 0-2 pitch and yanked it down the third base line for a single. Colin Garner followed with a grounder past the shortstop.
Cassville's starting pitcher, Marcus Weatherman, retired the next two. With a chance to get out of the inning unscathed, Weatherman left a ball too far inside and it hit Hall to load the bases.
Tyler Musick, then, "wore one" to get the painful RBI, and plate the first Monett run.
Monett's Nick Childress drew a bases loaded walk to give Monett a 2-1 lead, with all of Monett's runs in the first frame coming with two outs.
Scoring with two out was a continued theme for Coach Calhoun's squad the entire night.
"I really liked the way we came up big with two outs," said Calhoun. "I thought we hit the ball really well tonight."
Calhoun's team scored 14 of their 23 runs with two outs, collecting 22 hits in six full innings of plate appearances, tallying at least two runs in each inning.
Monett's half of the second witnessed them bust loose, and really never look back.
Kelley doubled to left to open the inning. Cameron Witt drew a two-out walk. Kyle McCallister smashed a double to score Kelley. Hall followed with a single to left. Musick extended the inning with a single to left field.
Childress then belted a double to center. Cassville flashed some defense by cutting down Musick at the dish on a well-executed eight-four-two put out to end the inning. However, Monett held a 6-2 lead.
Monett's starting pitcher, Blake Spain, retired Cassville in order to end the top of the third.
Spain pitched well the entire game. He threw seven innings, scattered nine hits, struck out seven, and walked four and had solid defense behind him to earn the first round district win.
Holding a 6-2 lead over rival Cassville, Monett exploded in their half of the third, scoring six runs with two outs.
Seven of the eight Monett batters in the inning collected hits, with the biggest blow coming off the bat of Hall, who crushed a two-run homer to extend the advantage to 12-2.