Bobcat bats kept in check
In the third inning of Basehor-Linwood's regional semifinal baseball game against Piper Friday, May 17, BLHS catcher Darren Marx reached second base but was stranded to end the inning.
Marx was just one of three Bobcats to reach second base all day during the Bobcats' 5-0 loss to the Pirates that ended their season.
Piper put its ace, Brian Woods, on the mound and for six innings he mowed down the Bobcats, one after another. In the second inning, Woods struck out two to end the inning. In the third, he struck out two more and in the fourth, he recorded two more strikeouts both looking. Two more Bobcat strikeouts in the fifth pushed Woods' total to nine for the game and with every failed trip to the plate the frustrations in the BLHS dug out grew.
"He pitched a hell of a game," BLHS coach Curtis Press said. "At this point in the season, that's what it takes. We're not a very good defensive team, so we try to make up for that with our bats. When you face a dominant pitcher like that, it makes it hard."
While the Bobcats were being retired in a methodical fashion, Piper was piecing together runs one at a time. The Pirates scored one run in the second inning and added two more in the third to build an early 3-0 lead.
"It seemed like we gave them everything they got," Press said. "Three of their five runs were unearned, but the way we were playing all it took was one run and we still would've been beaten. We just didn't get the job done."
For much of the game, BLHS pitcher Jeremy Sheehan did get the job done. For the most part, Sheehan kept the Pirates in check at the plate. Piper's two-run third was by far the most damaging inning, and even during that mini-explosion Sheehan faced just six batters.
"Mr. Sheehan pitched a pretty darn good game," Press said. "He kept us in it, our bats just never came alive."
BLHS was retired in order in the third and fourth innings, and in the fifth Woods actually recorded four outs. Junior Brandon Dye struck out but reached first base when the ball got by the Piper catcher. Woods then retired the next two BLHS hitters to preserve Piper's 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Bobcats trailed 5-0, but despite the previous frustrations, the Bobcats remained optimistic in the dug out.
"Just get me up," third baseman Ross McCoy told each hitter that paraded to the on-deck circle in front of him.
Chatter like McCoy's, as well as words of encouragement from every player standing with hands glued to the dug out fence and eyes so wide you could use them as baseballs could be heard throughout the complex.
Seeing Piper coach Dave Dawson remove Woods in the seventh caused those calls to grow louder.
"I don't know why he did that," Press said of Dawson removing Woods. "We laced a single off the new guy and if Dye could've got on after him we would've been right in that ballgame."
Instead, Dye popped out in foul territory and after a Sheehan single, Casey Jones struck out to end the game.
It was a fitting end to a game that saw 12 Bobcat strikeouts and Press said he was pleased with the way his team handled the loss that ended their season much earlier than any of them wanted.
"They were men about it," Press said. "There was no whining or crying. We were certainly disappointed, but we're set up for another run next year."
The Bobcats lose just one senior from this year's 14-6 squad and Press said after having a year under his belt the Bobcats will be much better prepared next season for a run at state.
"It takes a year to see what kind of personnel you have," Press said. "I learned what kind of group I have here and after emphasizing pitching and defense a little more next year, we'll be ready for another run."