Long ball leads Bobcats past Braves
Shortly after the Bonner Springs baseball team got to Basehor-Linwood starter Chris Maleta for two runs in the top of the first inning, BLHS coach Curtis Press told his team, "today's going to be a hitter's day let's go out there and hit."
Even though Press proclaimed what he thought was going to happen, he had no idea it was going to happen in such an explosive manner.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Bobcats batted around and turned a two-run deficit into a 5-2 lead.
"We were just so due for an explosive day," Press said. "Quite honestly, I would expect us to hit two or three or four home runs every game. Our bats are that good."
In the first game against Bonner Springs, the Bobcat bats were even better. After leadoff hitter Jeremy Hampton reached on a single, Brandon Dye and Derrick Bryan both walked to load the bases. Two batters later, Maleta stepped to the plate with redemption in mind. Maleta took a look at two pitches and then deposited the third one over the right-centerfield fence for a grand slam. It was the ultimate case of a pitcher helping himself out, and Press said he could tell it eased Maleta's mind.
"In his mind, I'm sure that helped him a lot," Press said. "When he went back out there for the second inning he knew he had a little bit of a lead to work with and he looked a lot more comfortable."
In the second inning, Maleta retired the first three Bonner Springs hitters and that brought BLHS's offense back to the plate. This time junior Brandon Dye was the one who left the yard, with a leadoff home run pulled down the rightfield line. Bryan and Maleta both scored later in the inning, and after two, BLHS led 8-2.
"Because we have defensive lapses, we have to score 12 to 15 runs a game," Press said. "Fortunately our hitters are good enough to do that, but we have to keep doing it because our defense just isn't our strength right now."
However, offense definitely is and after Bonner Springs cut the score to 13-6 in the top of the fifth, the Bobcats put on one more awesome display of power in the bottom of the inning to end the game.
Bryan led off the inning with his second home run of the day a solo shot to right field. That brought the score to 14-6 and BLHS was two runs away from winning by run-rule.
After third baseman Ross McCoy grounded out, Press looked at the next two batters and had a vision.
"I was in the coaching box and I saw Maleta and (catcher Darren) Marx coming up, and I thought two homers could end this thing," Press said. "Then when they did it, I was like 'Wow.'"
Maleta's second of the day, a towering shot to straight-away center, moved the score to 15-6 and Marx's game-winner was a laser to left field.
In the second game, the Bobcats exploded for 11 more runs in an 11-5 victory. BLHS trailed 5-4 heading into the sixth inning, but a five-run sixth combined with a dominating performance from pitcher Jeremy Sheehan in the sixth and seventh innings slammed the door on the Braves and gave the Bobcats the two-game sweep.
"We're working on fine-tuning some of the little instructional things right now," Press said. "Our offense is gelling nicely and we're going to need to keep it going because next week we enter a crucial part of our schedule."
The Bobcats play at Tonganoxie and at home against Piper and Mill Valley all in the next week.