Mill Valley advances, brings bitter end to tough year for Wildcats
The Mill Valley High School baseball team defeated district rival De Soto High School 19-5 in five innings at the Kansas Regional 4A Baseball Tournament in Kansas City, Kan. on Monday.
The third game between the two rivals remained a heated contest during the first inning. Mill Valley senior Cody Plummer hit a solo home run as the Jaguars (15-5) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. The Wildcats (5-16) fought back in the bottom of the first inning as they stole six bases and scored four runs to take a 4-2 lead. De Soto junior Todd Manson hit an RBI and then stole second and third bases. Wildcat junior Jake Miller's RBI gave De Soto a 4-2 lead and a reason for the fans to be out of their seats.
In the top of the second inning, the Jaguars ended the chance of a De Soto comeback when they scored 13 runs to take a 15-4 lead into the bottom of the second. Mill Valley junior pitcher Doug Antilla hit a two-run RBI single that gave the Jaguars a lead that they wouldn't relinquish. Antilla also hit a three-run RBI triple later in the inning. Juniors Dustin Stinnett and Sam Bevan as well as sophomore Kole Hamilton also contributed RBIs during the Jaguars big inning.
Mill Valley Coach Carl Garrett said his team came alive in the second inning after being in a close game for the first inning.
"The sign of a true champion is how you deal with adversity," Garrett said. "We just hit the ball well today and had some good innings; I was proud to see that."
Mill Valley, the second seed, advanced to play Kaw Valley League rival and sixth seeded Lansing (9-11) Wednesday night at Eisenhower Field, Kansas City, Kan. Results of the game were not available at press time. The Lions upset third seed Sumner Academy (11-6) on Monday. Senior Joey Fitzgerald, who saw some pitching action late in the De Soto game, was expected to start the Wednesday night game. Top seeded Basehor-Linwood (16-4) played four seed and host Bishop Ward (14-6) in the other regional game.
"It doesn't matter who you play in 4A regional baseball," Garrett said. "You have to be hot with the bat and when our pitchers throw strikes we have to field it. Today, we came out and did the things we needed to do."
The regional game was the last game for De Soto seniors Danny Blades, Ronnie Kraus, Tracy Peters and Doug Wittebort.
Blades pitched a shutout inning in the top of the fifth while Kraus hit a key RBI in the first inning to tie the game. Peters saw action in the bottom of the fifth inning while Wittebort made a difficult catch in centerfield during the fourth inning.
De Soto Coach Mike Runyon said it is sad to see his four seniors depart from the program.
"I'm going miss those four seniors," Runyon said. "I was just starting to have fun with this team."