Wildcats open season with sweep of Louisburg
When everything clicks in baseball, it can be a very fun sport to play. Just ask Taylor Burnett, who couldn't contain his excitement when returning to the dugout to start the top of the sixth inning Tuesday.
"I'm up again," Burnett said when he realized he would get to hit lead-off for the second straight inning in a 12-7 night cap white-washing over Louisburg. "I love it."
There was plenty for the Wildcats to cheer about during a doubleheader sweep that included a 3-2 win in the season opener. The Wildcats sent at least eight batters to the plate in three separate innings during the seven-inning game's offensive explosion.
Despite the successes at the plate, De Soto baseball coach Steve Deghand saw plenty of room for improvement.
"I was pleased with our defense for the most part tonight," Deghand said. "And our pitching was pretty good. But the one area I was least worried about was our hitting, and we struggled there at times tonight. I guess it goes to show what I know. We have to hit the ball better."
It was feast or famine at the plate for the Wildcats in both games of the season-opening doubleheader.
De Soto pounded out 10 hits in the second game of the twin bill, but the Wildcats' number of strikeouts ballooned into double digits in both games, including 13 in the second game.
Louisburg did help De Soto's cause more than the Wildcats aided the home team. De Soto had seven extra base runners because of miscues by Louisburg. De Soto committed just two errors on defense.
The Wildcats also got a couple of pitching gems from Matt Lowe in the opener and Leif Goleman in the second game. Both pitchers were masterful in complete game wins.
Lowe limited Louisburg to just one run in the bottom half of the second inning and again in the sixth frame, while Goleman gave up a pair of runs in the first inning and five more in the bottom of the sixth.
Goleman threw 66 strikes in his complete game 104-pitch performance. He struck out nine batters while handing out a couple of walks. The junior allowed six hits. Louisburg hit a measly .214 against Goleman.
"If you can pitch or play defense you can really help yourself be successful," Deghand said. "If you can keep the other team from scoring, you'll be in every ball game."
Louisburg drew first blood in the nightcap by plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Two errors by De Soto assisted Louisburg. Ryan Holt made it safely aboard when he reached on a bobbled grounder by Jacob Rupe at third base.
Goleman then walked Reed Kreiser in five pitches and delivered a wild pitch to put runners at second and third with just one out in the inning. Tyler Robinson then smashed a single to left field, scoring Holt and Kreiser.
But Louisburg's bats would go cold during the next four and two-thirds innings. De Soto, meanwhile, took a 12-2 advantage by scoring one run in the third inning, three in the fourth, four in the fifth and four more in the sixth.
Chris Peterson, who was pinch running for Leif Goleman, scored the first run for De Soto in the third when Troy Gower sacrificed him in.
De Soto scored again in the fourth frame when Austin Bills reached on an error at short, took second on another error, and scored on a wild pitch.
Peterson and Jesse Smith then scored on Sean Karashin's sharp groundball single into center field, bringing the score to 4-2 after four innings.
In the fifth inning, Burnett led off by ripping a sharp ground ball into center field and then stole second. An infield single to deep short by Danny Doherty and Kyle Bray's lined single to left center brought Burnett home.
Doherty and Bray then scored on a throwing error, making the tally 7-2. Peterson, who stepped in to pinch run again for Goleman after he doubled down the third base line, then scored on Karashin's lined single to right center field.
The Wildcats added four runs in the sixth inning thanks to the three straight walks delivered by Drew White, loading the bases with no outs.
Burnett scored on a bases loaded walk. Doherty and Bray each scored on two straight fielding errors by Louisburg. Peterson then scored on a sacrifice to deep right field by Hunter Noe.
Back-to-back singles to left field by White and Jake Worthington allowed Louisburg to narrow the gap to 12-6. Worthington then arrived home safely after singling to left and crossing the plate because of a wild pitch.
Goleman mowed down the opposition in the final inning 1-2-3 to preserve the triumph.
Gower was the hero in the opener when he knocked in a pair of runs to tie the score at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning. Gower then scored to give De Soto the advantage for good at 3-2.
Karashin went 3-for-5 from the plate to pace the Wildcat offense. He also knocked in four runs. Lead-off hitter Jesse Smith made it aboard the base pads five times in six attempts. Bray, who was 2-for-4, scored three times and knocked in another.
De Soto, 2-0, takes the field again at 4 p.m. Thursday against Basehor. The team's first home appearance will start at 4 p.m. Monday with a double-header against Piper at Sunflower fields.