Wildcats piling in late-season games
Cassville baseball showing growth despite losses
The Cassville baseball team is on a 3-game skid, but the Wildcats will have plenty of chances to turn their fortunes around with seven games in the next nine days.
The Wildcats (6-12) last tasted victory in a district contest at Reeds Spring on April 15, picking up a 7-5 win. In that game, Ty Hudson led with 3 hits, and Corey Thomas and Zach Acheson each added 2 apiece. Acheson led in the RBI category with 3, and Lane Mitchell added 2 RBI on a double. On the mound, Acheson went 4 innings, nursing a sore shoulder, giving up 8 hits, 3 earned runs and striking out 7. Thomas earned the win in three innings of work, giving up 2 hits and no earned runs, also striking out 7.
“That was a big win over Reeds,” said Ron Hudson, Cassville baseball coach. “We were down at the start and fought back to win it. The Seneca game, [a 4-1 loss], was also pretty good. We had a couple guys with multiple hits, and Isaac Hadlow pitched well.
“Against Reeds, Zach was having some arm trouble and wasn’t full strength, but he battled through it. We gave up 3 in the first, but we found a way to come back and win it.”
The Wildcats are on a 3-game slide since the victory over the Wolves, falling to McDonald County, 15-0, Mountain Home (Ark.), 14-0, and West Plains, 11-2.
“We were tied with West Plains 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth, but some mistakes bit us,” Hudson said. “They are a Class 5 school in a district with Webb City and Carl Junction.”
Hudson said the seven days between the Reeds win and McDonald County contest were unfortunate for the team.
“We needed to play,” he said. “We sat for a week after that win, and I think we would have been better off if we played the next day.”
Husdon will get his wish in the next nine days, weather permitting, as the Wildcats face Monett, Springfield Central, Fair Grove, College Heights, East Newton, have the Big 8 Crossover Game, and Nevada all on the schedule.
“We’re fortunate because if we play Thursday, we’ll have a day off before [the doubleheader] Saturday,” Hudson said. “With all those games, all our guys will get some play time, and most of them will pitch. We’re past the point now of saying we didn’t get to play last year due to COVID. We’re focused on performing well on the mound, in the field and at bat.
“This next week will be tough pitching-wise, but we’ve got guys that can throw strikes and hit at the plate.”
Hudson said a key for Cassville lately is bringing the loose atmosphere at practice to the diamond on game days.
“We’re working on taking our practice mentality into games,” he said. “We’re loose at practice, then we tighten up at game time, so we’re trying to just loosen up and go out there and play.”
District-wise, 15-3 Hollister and 14-3 Aurora lead the pack, with Cassville, Monett and Reeds Spring rounding out the slate.
“Hollister and Aurora will be at the top,” Hudson said. “Reeds Spring’s schedule is brutal, so they will be used to playing good teams come district playoff time. Monett also has a No. 1 thrower in Estin McBroom that can beat anyone on any given day. If Zach is healthy, I’d put him up against anyone on any day, as well.”
Hudson said on the mound is where Cassville has shown the most growth this season, especially considering where the Wildcats started.
“From where we were after the first two jamboree games to now, we’ve gotten a lot better,” he said. “We have many more guys that are throwing strikes and staying around the zone. After the McDonald County game, our approach at the plate has gotten a lot better, too.”
Hudson said he hopes Acheson’s soreness dissipates soon, as districts is just around the corner.
“We hope he can throw this weekend a bit, but we need him to be ready for next week and for districts,” Hudson said.
Cassville played at Lamar on Tuesday, with results unavailable at presstime. The Monett contest is on Thursday at Monett (6-8) at 4:30 p.m.