Wildcats, Hornets play to extra innings, tie 3-3
Don’t tell the De Soto Wildcats that summer baseball doesn’t count for anything.
They wouldn’t believe it.
Such was obvious when the umpires tried to end the game last Wednesday against the Johnson County Hornets. With the score deadlocked at three, the two-hour time limit had passed. But the De Soto players pleaded to let the contest go into extra innings.
The umpires obliged and allowed an eighth inning, but neither team could break the tie.
De Soto opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning to make the game 1-0, but Johnson County battled back quickly. In the top of the third, Cody Carbajo reached third base on one of the few errors made by the De Soto fielders and was singled home in the following at-bat.
The Wildcats faced a one-run deficit until the bottom of the fifth inning when Tyler Buffkin doubled to right-centerfield. After Logan Clark smashed a line drive into left, Matt Hamilton hit an RBI single to give the Wildcats the lead, 3-2.
Johnson County scored one run in the following inning to tie the game, but Daniel Peterson effectively got the Wildcats out of a jam by fanning the Hornets’ Cody Parks with two runners in scoring position.
Peterson earned the no-decision after pitching eight strong innings. He led the Wildcats to two one-two-three innings — the fifth and the seventh — striking out several batters in the process.
“Daniel did pretty darn good,” said assistant coach Darren Erpelding, who filled in for Joel Thaemert. “Overall I was pleased with how the team played.”
While the Wildcats performed well enough at the plate — Clark and Buffkin each had multiple hits in the contest — the team’s defense was what satisfied Erpelding the most.
“In the first or second game this season we had nine errors,” he said. “Since then we’ve never made more than two errors in a game. I think the guys realized how bad it can hurt you to have errors. They’re starting to take care of things on their own.”
The Wildcats did slightly more than simply taking care of things. Several players flashed more leather than what was expected of them — particularly Buffkin. He tallied two outfield assists in the second inning alone.
“This is the first I’ve really been with these guys,” Erpelding said. “So I didn’t know (Tyler) had that good of an arm. He joked that the weights conditioning is paying off. I think his arm has gotten stronger since the beginning of the summer.”