Slick base running gives Wildcats easy win
Although it appears as if they can predict the future, De Soto baseball players aren't telekinetic. They've been taught what to look for in gaining an advantage on the base pads.
"We've been teaching the guys to watch for the angle of the pitch," De Soto senior league baseball coach Dustin Jamison said. "If the pitcher throws a curve, for example, and it looks like it's going into the dirt, we tell them to take off. It's helped us take quite a few more extra bases."
Jamison's aggressive approach to base running allowed the Wildcats to score a 12-1 win over Blue Valley Northwest, despite De Soto's ability to gather just seven hits. The Wildcats did, however, steal 10 bases.
The Wildcats were especially attentive on the bases in the second inning when they stole five bases and scored five runs to take a 6-0 advantage. De Soto was credited with three singles in the inning and was aided by back-to-back no-out walks.
"They are becoming very good at it," Jamison said of watching for the perfect pitch to steal on. "We have seen an overall big improvement, not only in the spring, but in the summer as well. Our defense is shaping up as well."
De Soto also received a stellar pitching effort from sophomore Jerin Riffel, who went the distance and had his shutout broken up in the fourth inning.
Riffel wasn't as commanding as he has been, giving up just three hits in five complete game innings. He struck out three batters and walked or hit four more.
"He throws strikes," Jamison said. "He's got a great curve ball and keeps the batters off balance. The kid just keeps the ball down. He may hit one or two batters a game, but that's because he throws inside. He goes inside, inside, inside, and then gets them with a curve ball that often makes people look bad."
The Wildcats took advantage of the back-to-back walks by Jake Morse and Peter Buffkin in the second inning. Morse scored when Erik Hill reached base on an error. Buffkin and Hill came home when Riffel helped himself with an RBI single.
Riffel stole second base and scored on Jake Bosnak's single. Bosnak scored after stealing second and Tyler Farmer smacked a single.
In the third inning, Austin DeGraeve led off by reaching base following Jeff Yaco's error. After stealing second, DeGraeve scored on Morse's single. Morse then gave De Soto an 8-0 advantage when he scored on Hill's double up the middle.
De Soto added four more runs in the top of the fourth inning. Farmer reached base safely after getting hit by a pitch. The junior stole second and advanced to third on a Husky throwing error. Farmer scored on a wild pitch.
Aaron Hansen landed on first base following another Husky error. He stole second and took third base on a passed ball. Hansen scored on a ground out to first base.
Riley Pierce scored the third Wildcat run when he received a free base after getting hit by a pitch. A DeGraeve single and a ground out moved the junior to third. He scored on a passed ball.
DeGraeve took second on a ground out and made it to third on a passed ball. He scored on a wild pitch, making the score 12-0.
The Huskies broke up the shutout when Brandon Beauchaine led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single grounded to left field. He took second when Josh Holbert was hit by a pitch, and third on a single lined to center field by Jamie O'Brien. Beauchaine scored when Yacos grounded into a double play at second base.
De Soto's lone score in the first inning occurred when Bosnak earned a lead-off walk. He reached second base when he stole the base. He took third on Hansen's sacrifice ground out to first base and scored on a wild pitch.
Riffel was the only Wildcat to record multiple hits after going 2-for-3 from the plate and scoring a run. Bosnak, DeGraeve and Morse all had one hit and scored a pair of runs.
Farmer and Hill each had a hit and scored a run. Hansen, Brady Maasen and Buffkin all scored a run as well. Maasen reached base on a walk and was hit by a pitch.
De Soto, 10-3, finishes its regular season with games at 4 and 6 p.m. Tuesday against the Lancers at field No. 24 at the west complex of the 3 and 2 Baseball Club of Johnson County. They then play Bonner Springs at 8:30 p.m. on field 24 Wednesday.