Wildcats growing together as unit

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Gavin White slides to keep the ball in front of him during varsity action on Monday. Jared Lankford sports@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville coach likes team's willingness to fight

State-ranked Billings is the next test awaiting the Cassville baseball team on Thursday.

The Black and Gold head into the matchup 3-3 on the season and on the heels of a 4-0 loss to a tough Republic team on Monday.

Alex Vanderpool fires a pitch home for the Wildcats during Monday's game with Republic. Jared Lankford sports@cassville-democrat.com

For the Wildcats, Thursday's game marks the third consecutive test for a team that is still learning to play together and with a new coach. However, there are some things that have become apparent this season.

"These guys are going to fight," said Jade Samborski, Cassville coach. "You saw that tonight against Republic in the sixth inning. We had an opportunity to get back in the game. We are still working on the little things -- our approach at the plate and giving up unearned runs, but the main thing is we are going to fight."

Samborski knows there are extra difficulties placed on his program, especially with him being a first-year coach, but he believes his team's moxie and senior leadership is making the transition a smooth process.

"You never know with a group of seniors how they will react to a new coach and system," Samborski said. "But, these guys are leading this team. We want a whole team of leaders, we know that at one point, or one time or another, that we are going to need everyone on this team to step up and make a play to give us a chance to win a game."

On Monday, the Wildcats were shut out by University of New Mexico signee Chandler Coates, who scattered four hits over seven innings.

Alex Vanderpool was up to the challenge for Cassville, allowing just two earned runs in five-and-one-third innings of work.

"[Vanderpool] did a great job," Samborski said. "Most games when he pitches like that, we're going to be in the ballgame, and we're going to score runs for him."

The Wildcats did load the bases in the sixth inning with one out, but could not find the clutch hit.

"These guys are going to fight," Samborski said. "They're six games into [the season] with a new coach and a new way of playing the game, and we're getting there. I'm proud of them."

Samborski said the team is not taking the Billings game for granted.

"It is going to be a tough game," he said. "We aren't looking past anyone on our schedule."

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