Chieftain baseball wins thriller vs. Basehor-Linwood
As far as rivalry games go, Friday's Kaw Valley League clash between Tonganoxie and Basehor-Linwood couldn't have been much closer.
Tonganoxie's Tyler Novotney scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Chieftains a 3-2 win against the Bobcats at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.
Looking to rebound from back-to-back losses Tuesday at Jeff West, Tonganoxie (2-3, 2-1 KVL) clung to a 2-1 lead entering the seventh, but BLHS (3-2, 3-2) battled back to force a tie and send the game to the bottom of the inning. Dane Quigley drew a one-out walk and later scored on a potential game-ending play. THS reliever Travis Woods got a two-out come-backer from Brock Gilliam and fired to first, but first baseman Justin Wagner dropped the ball, allowing pinch runner Ryder Reed to score the tying run.
Woods got Ashton Findley to pop out to second, keeping the game tied heading into the bottom of the inning.
Novotney reached base when BLHS third baseman Andrew Mangana couldn't handle a sharp ground ball, then later scored the winning run on a passed ball with Colten Weaver at the plate.
"I thought our kids battled really well," Tonganoxie coach Mitch Loomis said. "It was a great baseball game on both sides and we made a big play when we needed to."
Loomis' squad went in front early, scoring one run each in the second and third. Shane Levy led off the second with a double and scored on an RBI single by Woods, then Novotney doubled the advantage when he singled and scored on a double by Brady Swedo. The score remained 2-0 until Gilliam cut the lead in half in the sixth. Gilliam singled, moved to third on a fielding error by Weaver and scored when catcher Billy Kelley tried to throw out a runner at second.
The Bobcats had runners at the corners with just one out later in the innings, but the Chieftains avoided further damage when Bryan Crowe grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
"I told the kids, it's usually it's the opposite; we struggle against the tough pitcher and hit a slower pitcher," BLHS coach Jeff Vestal said. "We struggled against the starter, then teed off on (Woods). We hit the ball solid, but the key play was when Crowe hit that ball and they turned the double play."
Basehor-Linwood's Abe Ruffcorn had the only multi-hit night for either team, going 2-for-2 with a fifth-inning double that nearly cleared the left field fence.
Both teams got five-inning efforts out of their starting pitchers. Swedo gave up three hits, striking out five and walking one. Meanwhile, the Bobcats' Avery Fliger gave up four hits, striking out four and walking none. Woods and Findley each threw two innings of relief.
Tonganoxie will make a trip to Basehor for a single game on April 26, and the teams could meet again in regional play. The Bobcats will be back at home Monday against Benton (Mo.). The Chieftains will have nearly a week off before their next action — a Thursday trip to Lansing.
Tonganoxie 3, Basehor-Linwood 2
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