Wildcats want to prove themselves in Big 8

BY KYLE TROUTMAN ktroutman@cassville-democrat.com

With the majority of its Big 8 Conference slate coming down the pike, the Cassville baseball team is looking to prove itself among the heavy hitters.

The Wildcats (7-6) have been improving this year compared to 2023, according to Coach Shawn Trent.

“If we are comparing to last season we are hitting the ball better as a team,” he said. “Our team average is 50 points higher and on-base percentage is 60 points higher than last season. We are averaging 8 runs per game when, last year, we only averaged 4.5.

“There are games where it seems we struggle, but we hit in bunches in others. We just have to hit like we know we can each time out — keep things simple and relax.”

The Wildcats have lost no more than three straight and won more than backto- back this season, and they are looking to build some momentum going into the second half of the season.

“We have to compete more on the mound,” Trent said. “Our starters have been doing really well coming in getting outs, but as soon we have to bring in a reliever, we tend to struggle to throw strikes.

“Walks and errors have hurt us the last few games. We need to stay locked in on the mound and just make the routine plays behind them.”

Flipping close games will also be a key, as the Wildcats are 1-3 in contests decided by 2 runs or less. he win was over Hillcrest, a 10-9 victory in the eighth inning, and losses came to Mt. Vernon, 6-4, East Newton, 5-4, and Sparta, 3-2.

“In those [three losses], we had the lead and we get to a point where it looks to me like we are just trying to protect that lead instead of trying to add to it,” Trent said. “We just have to be more aggressive and continue to add runs and work behind our pitchers. We have struggled to come in out of the pen throwing strikes.

“We have been getting a lot more guys opportunities on the mound the last couple weeks to see if we can find one or two arms that can help us in that area.”

Conference-wise, Cassville hosted Logan-Rogersville (12-3) on Monday, and still remaining on the Big 8 schedule are Nevada (12-2), Hollister (2-11), McDonald County (1-14), Lamar (6-5), Mt. Vernon (7-6), Monett (7-5), Marshfield (10-7), Reeds Spring (4-12) and Aurora (6-6).

]In Class 4, District 11, five of the six teams are above .500 as of Monday, with Seneca seemingly the favorite at 11-5. Cassville has fallen to the Indians twice this season, 13-3 and 15-0.

“I think every game is meaningful for us,” Trent said. “We haven’t proven ourselves to those conference and district opponents to this point. I think we just need to take each day at a time and focus on whoever our opponent is that day.

“The season is still early, and we have a lot of conference to play. The conference and district are both tough. We are a tough team, too, when we are playing well. We just have to start figuring it out.”

To figure things out, Trent said the Wildcats will have to lean on one another.

“We have to start believing in ourselves and trusting each other to do our jobs,” he said. “We have to produce at the plate, throw strikes and play fundamental baseball.”

Cassville returns to action Thursday at Nevada, and the Wildcats’ next home contest is on Monday against Hollister.

One comment

  1. I have been to some of the games this year I have seen the hitting struggles the errors struggles. I think the boys can play better. I have also seen several coaching errors not mentioned in the article in my opinion if the coach is going to call the boys out for errors he needs to own his mistakes. As far as the hitting and errors that goes back on the coach for not correcting it in practice. I believe everyone needs to be accountable for the wins and losses.

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