Hot bats carry Wildcats in two sweeps
De Soto's bats bailed out a usually reliable pitching staff last Thursday as the Wildcats improved their record to 3-0 with a convincing 15-4 thrashing of baseball power Ottawa.
With the 15-run barrage, De Soto started the season with three straight double-digit outbursts. The Wildcats scored 29 runs in a sweep of Wellsville to open the season.
Still, Wildcats coach Steve Deghand wasn't sure how good his offense was following the opening wins. Now he does.
"Their pitching is better than our first opponent," Deghand said. "We just hit the snot out of the ball (against Ottawa). We hit the ball real well. We were smoking balls."
Besides pounding out 15 singles on the night and a triple by third baseman Tyler Farmer, the Wildcats walked five times and were hit by pitches three times. Five Wildcat batters had multiple hits and batted above .500 in the single-game win.
In all, De Soto put 24 runners on the base pads. It was a benefit the Wildcats took advantage of with seven stolen bases.
"With our team speed, we are able to put a lot of pressure on the other team," Deghand said. "And I'm not just talking about stolen bases. I'm also talking about taking the extra base when the opportunity presents itself."
Taylor Burnett started the game on the mound but was chased after an inning of action after giving up three earned runs. The junior walked three batters and hit another, while striking out one. He threw just 11 strikes in 34 pitches.
Tyler Farmer righted the ship during his three-inning stint on the mound. The sophomore allowed just one earned run during his time aboard the hill. Farmer threw 32 strikes in 51 pitches, while striking out four batters and walking two more.
Leif Goleman struggled to get the final three outs after tossing 11 strikes in 22 pitches. The senior gave up just one hit, stuck out two batters and walked one.
In all, the De Soto pitchers struggled to a 5.60 earned run average and threw just 54 strikes in 107 pitches.
"I found out that our hitting can carry our pitching," Deghand said. "Even when our pitching was off the other night, our hitting came through for us."
Both teams scored a run apiece in the first inning.
However, the Wildcats jumped all over the Cyclones pitching in the top of the second inning to take a 7-1 advantage after an inning and a half.
De Soto had 10 batters reach base in the inning and at one point pounded out five-straight singles. Austin DeGraeve, Colby Childers, Farmer, Jerod Bader, Hunter Noe and Troy Gower all scored in the inning.
A big turn of events occurred in the bottom half of the inning when an Ottawa base runner was rounding third, attempting to score the third run of the inning with just one out. The runner missed third base, however, and alertly the Wildcats coaching staff appealed the run.
The run was removed from the scoreboard, the second out of the inning was slapped onto the Cyclones, and the rally defused.
De Soto added four runs each in the third and fifth innings, while Ottawa added one more run to their side of the scoreboard. It came in the third inning.
Farmer was 4-for-5 from the plate with two runs scored and a pair of runs batted in. A trio of singles and a triple in the third inning gave him a 1.200 slugging percentage for the game.
Goleman and Burnett both went 3-for-3 on the night and scored one and two runs, respectively. Both players knocked in three runs. Noe and Gower were 2-for-3 and 2-for-4, respectively. Noe scored twice and both players were credited with an RBI.
As a team the Wildcats hit .552 and were credited with 13 runs batted in. The team slugging percentage was .621, while De Soto's on-base percentage was .649.
The Wildcats improved to 5-0 Tuesday when they swept a doubleheader from Central Heights out at the 3 and 2 Baseball Complex.
Goleman allowed just two unearned runs in pitching the Wildcats to a 7-2 win over their conference foe in the first game of the twin bill. The senior struck out 13 batters in the seven-inning complete game performance, after laboring through the first three innings.
But Jacob Rupe made the play that springboarded De Soto to the win after the Wildcats trailed 2-1 going into their half of the fifth inning. The senior belted a leadoff pinch-hit single in the fifth inning to give the Wildcats offense a jump-start.
Rupe was 3-for-4 from the plate with a single, double and a triple. He also had a pair of runs batted in and scored a couple more. Farmer scored two runs after reaching base on a single and a walk. Noe and Burnett added key runs batted in.
Bader punished Central Heights batters in the second game and gave up just one earned run in a 9-1 Wildcat triumph. The sophomore fanned seven batters and threw just 84 pitches in a seven inning complete game performance.
Farmer, Noe and Goleman had two hits apiece in the contest. Bader added a triple.
"We definitely played sound defense," Deghand said. "When you give up three runs in two games, and two of them are unearned, you're playing very well defensively."
De Soto next plays at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Osawatomie.