Wildcats lose 5-2 KVL opener to Bobcats
Just like the players they teach, coaches thrive on the competition and strategy of the game. They want to be able to strategize, plan and execute the game plan they draw up.
De Soto baseball coach Steve Deghand was given that opportunity last Thursday in a game played at Sunflower Fields in De Soto against Kaw Valley foe Basehor-Linwood.
Although the Wildcats lost the game by a 5-2 margin, Deghand was thrilled at the chance to coach a close game.
"I just want to be in ball games," Deghand said. "I want to be able to think baseball. We asked them to compete, and that's what they did tonight."
The Wildcats saw vast improvement from a pitching staff that didn't allow Deghand to display his coaching skills in two lopsided losses to Louisburg last week.
But Matt Lowe got the nod to go up against Jeremy Sheehan, the Bobcats No. 1 starter, and he didn't disappoint Deghand.
The right-hander threw De Soto's first complete game of the season with a six-hit, five-run performance. He struck out five batters, while walking just two, and he gave up three earned runs.
Lowe threw 125 pitches in the outing and held Basehor-Linwood's offense to just two runs after six innings of play.
Sheehan, who also pitched seven complete innings, struck out 11 Wildcats while walking three. He gave up just one earned run while tossing 111 pitches during his stint on the mound.
Short stop Andrew Thornbrough made a couple of key plays in the field that kept the Wildcats afloat.
Thornbrough saved a run in the first inning when he snagged a sharp line drive off the bat of left fielder Derek Bryan, giving the Bobcats two outs in the inning.
Basehor-Linwood scored a run two batters later when designated hitter Ross McCoy knocked in Chris Maleta, who reached base on an error.
Thornbrough also dove and stuffed a ground ball in the seventh inning and threw the ball to first in time for the Bobcats second out of the inning, limiting the damage the Bobcats would do.
Earlier in the final stanza, catcher Harley Mostaffa and third baseman Kyle Bray teamed up to mow down Casey Jones at third base. Jones was trying to get to third following Jeremy Hampton's single into left field.
Although he was pleased with some of the outstanding plays his defense made, Deghand acknowledged there was still work to be done.
"We have to become more consistent on defense," Deghand said. "Our guys made some great plays, but we want them to be able to make the routine plays on a more consistent basis. For the most part we were able to do that."
Basehor-Linwood took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Maleta's run.
The Wildcats answered the call in their half of the inning. Lead-off hitter Jesse Smith got the ball rolling when he earned a lead-off walk and stole second base, getting into scoring position.
Following a strikeout by Lowe, Leif Goleman obliged Smith by pounding a single to left-center field, bringing the runner home and knotting the score at 1-1 after an inning of play.
The Bobcats took the lead again in the top of the second inning when Darren Marx led off the inning with a base on balls and stole second base. Sheehan then belted a one-out double to deep center field, bringing in Marx.
De Soto was able to even the score in the bottom of the fifth inning when Bray drilled a one-out triple. He scored a short time later on a past ball.
Basehor-Linwood ended the drama in the top of the seventh inning when they sent seven batters to the plate. The Bobcats produced five base runners with three hits and a couple of errors in the three-run inning.
The Wildcats went down 1-2-3 in their half of the inning.
Goleman, Mostaffa, Thornbrough and Bray were credited with a hit each to account for all of De Soto's hits.
Goleman knocked in the Wildcats'only RBI of the game and stole a base. Bray scored a run and had De Soto's only extra base hit with a stand-up triple.
Smith reached base twice on walks. He scored a run and stole two bases in his first appearance in the No. 1 slot for De Soto this season.
Chris Peterson had the Wildcats' other walk.
De Soto (0-3) will be in action again Monday when they play a double header against Mill Valley at home. The first game is set to begin at 4 p.m.