Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mustang Baseball Catches Second Wind, Falls Just Short of District Title

Andrew Webster had his last hurrah at North Nodaway. His team was mired in a three-game losing streak after having gotten the second seed in the tournament at West Nodaway and being in the drivers seat for most of the way in the conference race. They ran into North Harrison for their last game of the season; the Shamrocks had beaten them 7-5 earlier in the year for their only win of the season. They had to regroup, since they had lost Dakota Smyser for the year to a broken ankle.

The Mustangs fell behind by five runs in that game, but chipped away and won 12-11 in a wild game. Peyton Coleman struck out five, Kendrick Calfee struck out two, and Arron Coleman struck out two in the win. Peyton Coleman hit a 3-run home run while Ben Hart, Augustus Hoepker, and Daytona Lutz all had two hits each. Hart drove in three and Lutz drove in two.

"We realized that we were still the two seed at the tournament, and we wanted to play like it," said Webster. They did, as they put together their best game of the year and beat Platte Valley 6-0. The Mustangs had beaten the Longhorns twice by close scores earlier in the year; frequently, it is tough to beat an evenly matched team three times. But the Mustangs pulled it off for their first-ever district win behind the pitching of Koby Reynolds. He gave up only two hits, walked one, and struck out eight behind only 81 pitches, meaning he could still pitch three innings against Braymer if needed. Peyton Coleman hit a home run and drove in three for his second home run in two games. Ben Hart also hit a home run and added a single and two RBI's. Kendrick Calfee scored two runs, and Garrett Torres and Daytona Lutz scored one each.

That pitted them against Braymer, a team they had beaten 13-10 earlier in the year. But this time, Braymer trotted out their best pitcher in Jordan Miller and he shut them down, limiting them to only one hit as the Bobcats won 4-0 to take the district title. He started off wildly, walking two batters and another runner reached on an error, but Arron Coleman popped out and Garrett Torres grounded into a force at third. It still looked like it would be North Nodaway's game as Kendrick Calfee made a diving catch to rob a base hit from Miller and take a sure run away from the Bobcats in the second inning. But then Calfee was thrown out trying to go to third on a wild pitch. Koby Reynolds singled up the middle; Logan O'Dell snared it but had no play in the third. That turned out to be the last baserunner for North Nodaway.

In the bottom of the third, Paul Atherton beat out a scratch hit down the third base line and scored on Gabe Rogers' double when the ball dropped in for a pop fly single in right center and rolled away from Wyatt Tate.

In the fourth, Logan O'Dell's pop fly kept carrying on Arron Coleman at third, assisted by a breeze that blew out to left. It dropped in for a double and O'Dell took third as Coleman could not get back to the bag in time to cover and nobody else covered. Later, he beat out a force attempt at home to make it 2-0. Braymer tried to manufacture another run in the inning when Miller attempted a straight steal of home, but he was tagged out on a close play to end the fourth.

Webster put in Reynolds after the fourth after Peyton Coleman had pitched the first four, but Braymer got two more in the sixth when Atherton's grounder down the first base line hit the bag and rolled to the wall for extra bases, scoring Drake Parker and Jake Gladieux.

"We started out as freshmen and sophomores, we kept working on the fundamentals, and we won more games this year than the first two years combined," said Webster. "We lost to a good team; we hit the ball well, but it was right at people." Webster told the Express that he would be leaving North Nodaway and become an assistant football coach and teacher at Kennett (MO), which is located in the bootheel of the state. He will assist his old high school football coach, who has been in the process of turning that program around.

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