Baseball opens with sweep, then swept
Teams face an uphill battle when trying to win ballgames while committing seven errors. That's exactly what De Soto tried to do Tuesday night when it faced Spring Hill at home.
The second game of the twin bill saw the Wildcats commit the majority of their errors in a costly fourth inning. However, they were still in the game until the final out.
De Soto lost its third and fourth games, 4-2 and 8-5, respectively. That came after opening up 2-0 with 4-1 and 8-4 victories March 27 at Baldwin.
"I would have never expected that out of our guys," coach Joel Thaemert said after the Spring Hill doubleheader. "We're not playing defense nearly as well as I thought we would."
De Soto and Spring Hill were tied 1-1 going into the fourth inning of the second game when the Wildcat defense came off its hinges.
Four errors staked the Broncos to a 5-1 lead. One of the four runs scored off Tommy Elmer in the inning were earned, off one hit. Nevertheless, Elmer was chased from the mound and Daniel Peterson came in to stop the bleeding. He did so by inducing a groundout and a strikeout.
"Tommy Elmer threw well tonight for his first outing," Thaemert said. "Our defense just deserted us the second game."
The Wildcats responded after the inning though, when Brady Maasen lined a basehit up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fifth and later scored on a single.
Peterson worked a scoreless fifth to keep the score at 5-2 before De Soto did more to get themselves back in the game. Maasen came up with a 2-RBI knock to the right side and brought the Wildcats to within 5-4.
Then in the sixth, the defense reverted to its fourth-inning form. With one out, Spring Hill got a groundball single through the right side of the infield. A De Soto error and Spring Hill single plated two insurance runs and moved the De Soto deficit to three. Both teams added a run in the seventh inning to reach the total of 8-5.
"Offensively, we're going to have to create runs. We're going to have to get better bunting the ball, number one. And we're going to have to do more hitting-and-running," Thaemert said. "We're getting thrown out on the bases a little bit but we're going to have to because we're not going to hit many doubles and triples. We're going to have to create runs another way. We're not aggressive enough at the plate, but we saw two good pitchers tonight, so give them credit."
In the first game, Jerin Riffel took the loss, and Jake Collier pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh for De Soto. The sweep moves the Wildcats to 2-2 on the year.
Opening the season at Baldwin, pitching was a key to De Soto's success.
Maasen pitched the first game of that doubleheader and allowed one hit in a complete-game effort while striking out nine. Erik Hill had two of the four runs-batted-in, while Logan Clark and Shane Miller each had one.
In game two of the nightcap the Wildcats erupted at the plate in the top of the fifth inning for five runs. Travis Crow did the work on the mound through five complete innings. He left the game with 10 strikeouts and a 6-2 lead. Peterson entered the game in relief and allowed two runs - one earned - in the final two innings to preserve an 8-4 victory. Elmer and Riffel each had two hits in the game.
Next up for De Soto is an April 8 game at Ottawa.
"I'm disappointed, not in our effort but in the way we played," Thaemert said. "We'll get a week to figure it out. Ottawa should be very good."
Ottawa won the Frontier League a year ago.