Young guns salvage split for BLHS baseball team
The Basehor-Linwood boys baseball team had every reason to enter the second game of a doubleheader against Bonner Springs frustrated and ready to go home.
The first game Tuesday afternoon featured a mammoth Cody McCoy pop-out with two men on that landed mere feet from depositing on the other side of the fence. The Bobcats also stranded runners on second and third in the seventh inning en route to a 4-3 loss.
The opportunities had been abundant but the team was unable to capitalize. The disappointed young team entered the second game with thoughts of revenge instead of relinquishment.
Tyler Henley pitched a complete game shutout in an 8-0, blowout victory.
"When things go well, and they did in the first ball game, and you still get beat, which will happen, there is nothing we should hang our head about," BLHS coach Dave Svoboda said. "Our guys really fought in that first game, especially late. We did the little things well, showed fight, and came back. That's what you want from your guys."
The youth on the team was evident in the second contest. Henley is a freshman, as were the first three batters in the lineup.
"I don't think there is any question that it helps our confidence," Svoboda said. "It says a lot about those young kids. There is some unflappability amongst these kids that I really enjoy on a daily basis. I think that says more about them than it does about us as a coaching staff. They have to have a belief, and you can coach it to a certain extent, but they have to bring it. That was the neatest thing. In the second game they brought it."
Henley made it look easy. He was rarely in trouble.
"I didn't really do anything special," Henley said.
The freshman surrendered scattered hits throughout the game but calmly dispatched batters when runners were in scoring position.
"I knew I could pitch to them and get them out, so I didn't really worry about (runners on base)," Henley said.
Henley's coach believes his confidence is the reason for his success.
"He is wild in the zone," Svoboda said. "That is a huge advantage. And he believes in everything he does. He smiles when he should probably be nervous, he has good rapport with his catcher. All the little things you want someone to do."
Henley has not been a regular in the Bobcat's rotation this season. Svoboda has two ways of looking at this.
"He has now thrown 11 varsity innings and hasn't allowed a run," Svoboda said. "I either have rocks in my brain or I have brought him up at the right pace, one or the other. He just continues to get people out and really be masterful. It will be really entertaining to watch him grow."
Henley also had a pair of RBI singles in the first game. Did his performance at the plate lead to the stellar showing on the mound in the second game?
"I don't know," Henley said. "I am feeling hot at the plate right now."
Henley believed the team's performance would translate well into the rest of the week.
"I think it helps us a lot. We have Imac on Thursday, and we should be able to do good against them and carry that into Friday."