Turner sweeps Basehor in baseball, but Bobcats notch rare win over Bishop Ward
Basehor-Linwood has experienced the good and bad of high school baseball in the last week.
The team has had the joy of defeating perennial Class 4A juggernaut Bishop Ward for the first time in a few years. The victory highlighted a week in which the Bobcats won four games and clinched a winning regular season.
Entering Wednesday’s regular season finale against Lansing, the team had an 11-7 record, which included a 5-3 KVL mark.
The Bobcats also have the stinging feeling of losing two games to Turner, 6-2 and 10-7, on Monday night.
“Turner scored three runs in the first inning of each game, and although we rebounded with four of our own in the first inning of the second game, it was tough playing up hill all night,” coach Dave Svoboda said. “Walks and hit batsmen by our pitchers really hurt us as well. Both of the starters walked four and at least hit one batter.”
Ryan Lawless started the first game and pitched just two innings. He walked four, hit three and allowed three earned runs.
Ben Zuk entered the game in relief and allowed runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
Trailing 4-0, Basehor-Linwood scored its first run of the game in the third inning. The Bobcats did not score again until the bottom of the sixth inning.
Turner struck early in the second game as well scoring three runs, but BLHS answered with four runs in the bottom of the first inning and one in the second. Turner added two more runs in the third inning to tie the game, 5-5.
The Bears scored two more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 9-5 lead. Basehor tried to rally but fell short.
While the losses hurt, Basehor-Linwood can build on the positives of winning four games in the previous week.
Few teams have been able to beat Bishop Ward in recent years. The Cyclones, after all, are the six-time defending Class 4A state champions.
On Friday, however, Basehor-Linwood notched its fourth victory of the week and first in a long time over Bishop Ward, winning 6-0 at BLHS.
Tyler Henley was at his best on the mound for BLHS as he threw a complete-game, one-hit shutout and moved to 4-1 as a starter this season. Henley struck out 14 batters in the game. The lone hit surrendered was a two-out infield single in the sixth inning.
Henley also had two hits in the victory, Brandon Leppke had two runs scored and Ryan Lawless added two runs batted in to lead the Bobcat offense.
“It was very gratifying to beat a team that is a six-time defending state champion,” Svoboda said. “The win gives us the knowledge that we can play with, and beat, anyone at any time. But each day, each game, is different.”
The win was a nice victory for the program and should provide players with the memory of beating a state dynasty type of program.
“I think it was satisfying for all of our players to finally get a win against Ward,” Svoboda said. “The seniors now have a lifetime memory, and I’m happy for them.”
The win also helps reinforce the message that Svoboda has been trying to convey to his players throughout the season that when everything is clicking, the Bobcats can be a quality baseball team.
Last week was a strong week for the Bobcats who earned two wins against Sumner Academy, and victories against Bonner Springs and Bishop Ward.
“During the four wins, we pitched pretty well and times, and in dominating fashion in others,” Svoboda said. “That’s key. And we played great defense in the wins over Bonner and Ward.”
Now, the team looks to regain that form in time for next week’s regional competition.
“We want to be competitive on Monday,” Svoboda said. “We’ve talked about our poor first-round regional performances the last two years, and we want to make sure we play well in the opener. If we play well and get beat, we will live with that. But we don’t want to give a game away. We feel like that’s something we did the last two years.”