Bears end Braves’ baseball season
On paper it looked like the Bonner Springs baseball team had caught a break.
The Braves were slated to play Turner for the second time this season on Tuesday during the opening round of the Class 5A regional tournament, but they did not have to face all-everything pitcher Brandon Simmons who had one-hit them in April.
Bears coach Dustin Jamison took a gamble and started fellow senior Josh Fishbaugh, saving Simmons to throw in the regional finals against Lansing if the Bears were able to defeat the Braves.
The gamble paid off as Turner beat BSHS, 10-1, and went on to top Lansing for a state tournament berth.
“They just beat us tonight,” BSHS coach Rick Moulin said. “They were the better team and came out and played better than us. We thought we had a chance coming in because we have seen some good things lately out of our guys, but it just didn’t work out for us tonight.”
Moulin countered Jamison’s move with his ace, Austin Anderson. When Anderson is on he can set down good lineups in order, but when he battles control of his fastball he is not as effective.
Anderson got into trouble in the first inning when he walked leadoff hitter Jesse Castro on four straight pitches. Castro stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice fly before coming around on a Simmons single. Simmons also stole second and was plated by a Bret Straton double that found the gap in right-center. Anderson helped himself out with a good defensive play to end the inning, only trailing just 2-0.
In the second inning, Bonner put together a scoring opportunity, but the Braves’ bats went quiet at the worst time. Brian Callahan got hit by a pitch and moved to third on Luke Terrell’s bloop single. Terrell stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position. Ryan Morris and Chris Smith both struck out, but Callahan made the final out when he tried to score on a wild pitch that bounced directly back to the catcher, who tossed the ball to a waiting Fishbaugh at the plate for the easy tag.
The wheels fell off in the third inning when Luis Ramirez hit a ball off the bag at first and stole a base before scoring on a triple by Simmons. Simmons’ hit set a Turner school record for triples in a career. Simmons scored and Turner added three more runs before chasing Anderson from the mound, and went to the fourth inning with a commanding 6-0 lead.
The Bears added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 9-0 lead before Bonner got on the board. Chance Crawford reached on an error and scored on an Anderson ground-rule double, but that was all the Braves could muster. Josh Slavens cranked a home run in the sixth to round out the scoring for the game.
Fishbaugh threw seven innings, struck out nine, allowed just five hits, one walk and one unearned run in the victory.
The Braves (5-16) will look to replace six seniors and Moulin in the offseason, so there is no question that the Braves will be sporting a new look come next spring. Moulin announced recently that he was stepping down at the end of the season. It was a move he initially made last spring, but he opted to return to coach the final year for the senior class.