Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wild Pitch From Mustangs Caroms Off Bat, Snuffs Out Wolves’ Rally; Mustangs Sweep Double Header

North Nodaway was clinging to a 9-8 lead in the second half of a double header with East Atchison. It was the bottom of the seventh, since this was a makeup game. Gus Hurst had already reached on a dropped third strike to start the inning. Dakota Smyser was pitching for North Nodaway, when his pitch to Zachary Garrison got away and looked like it would be a carbon copy of Andrew Freemyer’s pitch that hit Logan Keho in the helmet a few days before that won the game for the Mustangs. But this time, Smyser’s errant pitch hit Garrison’s bat and caromed into fair territory after the plate umpire had called it foul. Alertly realizing what had just happened, Smyser ran over to the ball and threw out Garrison at first. Despite plenty of squawking from the East Atchison fans and dugout, the call stood and Hurst was on second with one out.

Smyser and the Mustangs were not out of the woods yet. Shae DeRosier struck out and Hurst, with the tying run, took third as Tyler Bix threw out DeRosier on a dropped third strike. Tyler Brown was the number 9 hitter for the Wolves; had he reached safely, anything could have happened with the top of the order coming up. Brown hit a pop fly and Smyser tripped over the rubber as he backed off the high mound and lost track of the ball. But he recovered in time to make the catch and North Nodaway had gotten another 9-8 win over the Wolves and their frustrated coaches and players.

East Atchison had every reason to be disappointed in the game. Their coaches, Casey Martin, Michael Hollingsworth, and Bryant Hummel were upset about the last game as they felt that they had wasted a gem thrown by Brody Cooper. “Who wants to step up,” they asked. “Your attitude has got to change.”

North Nodaway started off the game well as they got some good swings off Wolves’ pitcher Gage McAdams. Dakota Smyser had a long out to center, but Dalton singled to right and Peyton Coleman walked. Tyler Bix, the hero of the last game, got called out on strikes, but Arron Coleman singled. As the throw came in, the ball got away from Keaton Williams as Dalton Smyser scored safely. Peyton Coleman tried to score as well when the ball got away, but was out at the plate as Williams recovered in time.  There was a rhubarb after the play as Martin tried to get the run wiped out, saying Smyser had failed to slide. But the run counted and North Nodaway was up 1-0.

But the Wolves were determined to give a better accounting of themselves than last time. Colin Joesting and Jake McEnaney grounded out, but Brody Cooper beat out a slow roller to Arron Coleman at short and Gage McAdams reached as rightfielder Austin Bird dropped a fly as Cooper took third. Cooper scored on a wild pitch and Keaton Williams singled to make it 2-1.

It looked like the Wolves’ rally in the first would be an empty gesture as North Nodaway pitcher Tyler Bix began shutting down the Wolves. In the third, Dalton Smyser doubled over center fielder Gus Hurst’s head and Peyton Coleman singled to Hurst. Hurst threw the cutoff to Brody Cooper at short; Cooper’s throw home was wild as Coleman took second. Tyler Bix grounded out, but Arron Coleman’s pop fly dropped in before left fielder Shae DeRosier could get to it, and Peyton Coleman came home to make it 3-2.

North Nodaway added to their lead in the fourth. Jordan Snyder walked and Austin Bird, running for him, successfully stole second when shortstop Brody Cooper dropped the throw. Garrett Torres struck out, as did Dakota Smyser. But the ball got away from catcher Keaton Williams and Bird took third. Dalton Smyser hit a grounder for what would have been the third out of the inning. But first baseman Max Hopkins bobbled and dropped it, Bird scored on the play, and Smyser was safe.

Dalton Smyser then stole second and Peyton Coleman walked; on the play, the ball got away once again and Smyser took third. Tyler Bix faked a bunt, Coleman took off for second, and shortstop Cooper tried to cut off a throw from the catcher to retire Dalton Smyser, who had taken off for home. But Cooper threw it away and Coleman made it to third. The Tarkio coach called timeout and got agitated during the conference, but Tyler Bix singled up the middle to score Coleman and make it 6-2.

North Nodaway looked like they were in control, but they missed two chances to add to it. The first was when Bix successfully beat the throw to second on a steal, but overslid the bag and was tagged out to end the fourth. Then, Arron Coleman missed extra bases in the fifth when he hit a monster shot down the left field line near the goalposts that landed just foul.

Bix tired out to start the fifth; the object of any team facing the Wolves is to get the first two batters out so Cooper would not have a chance to drive in a run. But Colin Joesting singled through third and short, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Jake McEnaney’s single. McEnaney took second on another wild pitch, bringing up Cooper. Cooper hit a grounder to Arron Coleman, who bobbled the ball, had no play on Cooper at first, tried to pick off McEnaney who had wandered off the bag at second, and threw it away. That put Cooper on second and McEnaney on third. Gage McAdams took full advantage as he doubled into the right center gap to score Cooper and McEnaney and make it 6-5.

Gage McAdams stole third and Keaton Williams walked on four pitches, and that finished Bix and brought in Dakota Smyser. Gus Hurst grounded out to Smyser, but Keaton Williams made it all the way to third on the play with just one out as McAdams scored to tie it at 6-6. But then Smyser settled down and stranded the lead run at third by striking out Max Hopkins and Shae DeRosier.

Jake McEnaney came on to relieve Gage McAdams for the Wolves and Makayla Cross struck out to start the Mustang sixth, but Dakota Smyser reached on a pop fly that first baseman Max Hopkins lost in the lights. Dakota stole second, took third base, and scored when Dalton Smyser singled just over second baseman Colin Joesting’s glove to make it 7-6 and put North Nodaway back in front. Peyton Coleman hit a grounder to third baseman Gage McAdams, who threw to second for a force, but Joesting dropped the throw and everyone was safe. With runners on first and second, Tyler Bix hit a grounder to third. McAdams stepped on the bag to retire Dalton Smyser, but threw away the attempt to get the double play at first, allowing Coleman to score. Arron Coleman reached when Joesting got played by a hop at second to score Bix to make it 9-6.

East Atchison had one last gasp in the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Brown and Colin Joesting walked to start off the inning and went to second and third on a wild pitch. Jake McEnaney, with the tying run, grounded to Arron Coleman at short; he threw the ball away and Brown and Joesting scored on the play as the tying run went to second. Brody Cooper greeted Dakota Smyser with the longest hit of the night, around 350 feet from home plate. But Peyton Coleman, stationed in center, was positioned perfectly in left center. The blast would have been over the fence in many other parks, but it was simply a long out at Hopkins and McEnaney couldn’t advance. McAdams struck out and Keaton Williams popped out to Arron Coleman as North Nodaway clung to a one run lead going into the seventh and the final fireworks.

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