Burnett on fire with blistering 58 strikes
Taylor Burnett's value to his team was never as apparent as it was last Wednesday, when he pitched De Soto to a 4-3 win over Bishop Miege in the first game of a doubleheader sweep of the Stags.
In the second game, James Ingalls and Tyler Farmer teamed up for the 8-6 win from the mound. But it was the waking up of the Wildcats' bats that was responsible for the nightcap win.
In recent weeks the Wildcats' pitching staff struggled as De Soto dropped six straight games to American League foes at Johnson County 3 and 2.
But this night belonged to Burnett as the junior-to-be at De Soto High School blistered and confused his way through the Stag lineup inning after inning.
Burnett threw just 98 pitches in the complete game win over the Stags. He tossed 58 strikes while walking three batters and hitting one.
Through five innings, Burnett shut out the Stags as he regained his confidence.
As they have done so often in the past, De Soto drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning of the first game.
Austin DeGraeve, who scored two of De Soto's four runs in the contest -- including the game winner -- started the inning off with a one-out walk.
The Wildcat second baseman then stole both second and third bases and scored on a throwing error at third base when the Stags tried to throw him out.
De Soto added a couple more runs in its half of the second inning, taking a three-run lead.
Aaron Hansen led off the inning with a seven-pitch walk. Another seven-pitch walk in the next at-bat by Colby Childers and a bunt sacrifice from Jake Bosnak put Wildcats runners at second and third with one out.
Dan Hoschouer then drove in Hansen when he grounded out to the pitcher and advanced Childers to third. Childers came home on a passed ball, giving the Wildcats a 3-0 advantage.
But the Stags weren't willing to roll over just yet. In the top of the sixth inning, the Stags drew within one on Cullen Baxter's two-run home run. It tested the psyche of Burnett for the first time in the game.
Burnett regrouped and got the next three Miege batters out. He struck out two of the potential base runners.
The Wildcats' pitching ace then gave up a single run in the top of the final frame, tying the game for the first time since the score was 0-0.
David Ritz started the inning off by reaching first on an error by Wildcats shortstop Farmer. Ritz stole second and landed on third when Tim Mourlam ripped a single to left field.
Nick Ammon then grounded out to first, scoring Ritz and tying the game.
DeGraeve answered again by drawing a throw to third in the bottom of the seventh inning after a pitch hit him.
The junior-to-be then raced home, giving De Soto the one-run win in the opener.
Two pitches into the second game, Kenny Price set the tone for the fireworks that would erupt during the next seven innings.
The second game shortstop ripped a triple to deep center field and four pitches later scored when DeGraeve singled to right.
Farmer's second and final hit of the night high-hopped over Miege starting pitcher Ritz and put runners at first and second with no outs in the inning. A walk by Riley Pierce loaded the bases.
Hoschouer's bunt down the third base line scored DeGraeve, and back-to-back singles by Bosnak and starting pitcher Ingalls brought home Farmer and Hoschouer, respectively, making the score 4-0.
Miege sent seven batters to the plate in its half of the opening inning and cut the deficit to one run.
Baxter launched a one-out double to deep right field, getting the inning rolling for the Stags. Two batters later, Baxter scored on a hit-and-run play when Ammon lined a single to center field.
Ammon and Mike Steele both scored on Jacob Engler's single to right.
Bishop Miege rallied to tie the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the second frame. Mourlam earned a five-pitch walk, leading off the inning, and then stole second to get in scoring position. Ritz then singled to right to score Mourlam.
De Soto responded with a run in the third inning, while the Stags put one on the scoreboard in the fifth inning to make the tally 5-5 heading into the seventh frame.
The Wildcats broke up the tie by sending seven batters to the plate and walking a couple of times in the final frame. Hansen pounded out the only hit in the inning when he tore into a lead off stand-up triple to the fence in right field.
Hansen, Price and Farmer all reached home safely in the frame. Miege scored one run on a walk and a ground out to short.
Ingalls and Farmer combined for the win by allowing six earned runs between them and showed nine base runners the way to the base pads safely.
Ingalls started the game for De Soto and left after two innings of work. Farmer struck out four batters in five innings and walked one.
Hoschouer led the way in game two going 2-for-2 from the plate and scoring a run and knocking one in. Price, DeGraeve and Farmer all stroked a hit in the game as did Dustin Grimes, Childers, Bosnak, Ingalls and Hansen.
Farmer, Pierce, Burnett, Bosnak and Hoschouer all had a hit apiece in the first game.
De Soto, 3-6, will return to action Thursday when they tangle with 3-10 Aquinas at 9 p.m. on Field No. 24 at the west 3 and 2.