BLHS baseball team defeats Bonner Springs for second straight season at Kauffman Stadium
Josh Ishmael ran into trouble in the seventh inning Friday, but in the end that only allowed he and his teammates a little extra time to enjoy Kauffman Stadium. Ishmael continued his recent success on the mound, cruising through six innings and getting the win in Basehor's 7-4 victory over Bonner Springs in the Frank White Classic.
The Bobcats scored three runs in the bottom half of the first inning and never looked back, but it took an unassisted double play by second basemen Mike Armstrong to end Bonner's seventh inning rally and secure the victory.
With Ishmael getting the Bobcats off the field quickly in most innings, there was little time to savor the beautiful weather and the perfectly manicured grass of a big-league ballpark, but center fielder Tyler Dowdall said he didn't mind.
"He was good," Dowdall said of Ishmael. "And it was better than last year when we were only out here for five innings."
Last year the Bobcats beat the Braves by the 10-run rule.
After being spotted the three early runs on Friday, Ishmael looked dominant. He had a no-hitter going through three innings and helped his own cause at the plate and on the basepaths in the third. He beat out a grounder for an infield hit, then stole second and took third and home on sacrifice groundouts to the right side. It was coach Dave Svoboda's small-ball style done to perfection.
Ishmael lost his bid for a no-hitter in the fourth. With two outs, Dowdall misjudged a hard-hit line drive and it went over his head for a double. It was a rare mistake for Dowdall, who spent most of the afternoon chasing down fly balls in Kauffman's cavernous outfield.
"I just didn't get a good read off the bat," he said. "Playing here is a nice experience, but it's a big outfield."
The hit didn't do any harm, though, as Lucas Williamson made a nice play on a grounder to short to end the inning.
"The defense played great today," Ishmael said. "They made the plays when they needed to, and when I needed them to."
The Bobcats manufactured two more insurance runs in the fourth with timely hitting. Peter Brown walked and Williamson was hit by a pitch before Dowdall drove them both in with a double. It was the Bobcats' only hit of the inning and put the team up 6-0.
Bonner had its most memorable moment of the game in the fifth, when right fielder Mike Pier led off the inning with a towering blast that cleared the left field wall by eight rows and obliterated Ishmael's chances for a shutout.
"I threw a hard pitch up in the zone, the exact place you're not supposed to throw it," Ishmael said.
The homer may have rattled the junior a little, as he allowed another run later in the inning when he fielded grounder and overthrew Adam Smith at first base.
Still, the Bobcats got that run back on an RBI single by Brett Miles in the next inning. Basehor catcher Kyle Speichinger gunned down Drew Hess trying to steal, and Armstrong made a leaping catch and doubled off a runner at first to thwart a Braves' rally in the sixth.
Armstrong provided a moment of deja vu in the next inning as he ended the game on a similar play. The Braves started off the inning with two singles and a double, cutting the lead to 7-3 with runner at first and third and no outs.
Left-hander Billy Hashman was warming up in the right-field bullpen, and Svoboda made a trip to the mound, but decided to stick with Ishmael.
"The guy's our best pitcher right now, and I feel like if you're going to get beat, get beat with your best," Svoboda said. "That said, I knew we had Billy out there ready to go and if they got another hit or two I would have had complete confidence in him being able to come in and finish it."
Ishmael got a pop-up to third for the first out, but a single to right scored another run and put runners at second and third with the tying run at the plate. Armstrong came up big at second again, snaring a line drive and outracing the runner to second base for the unassisted double play.
"It was huge pressure off my shoulders," Ishmael said. "A great relief."
After shaking hands, the Bobcats lingered in the dugout a little longer, savoring the rare perfection of beating their arch-rivals under a clear blue sky in a major league ballpark.
Basehor-Linwood's next action is a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday, April 22 at Kaw Valley League power Mill Valley. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.