NEOSHO, Mo. — Neosho baseball’s first victory of the 2021 season will no doubt be a memorable one.
Not only did the Wildcats get their first mark in the win column after jumping out early and adding on throughout in a 10-4 win over St. Mary’s Colgan, but it was also the official opening of the new Roy B. Shaver Field. Before the game while standing on the fully-turfed field, former superintendent Dr. Roy Shaver, former Neosho coaches Charles Goade (first Neosho baseball coach) and Joe Fowler (coach of 1992 state Final 4 team) as well members of the teams from 1976 (first Neosho team), 1981 (state Final 4 appearance) and 1992 (state Final 4 appearance) were recognized along with several others by Neosho School District Superintendent Jim Cummins for their integral role in helping build the Neosho baseball program over its existence.
“It was great,” Neosho coach Danny Powers said. “So many people have worked so hard to get the Neosho baseball program up and running. Anytime you can bring some of those guys back, and the kids can see them and how much baseball meant to them, I think they have a better appreciation for why they are out here doing the things they do.”
After the ceremony, Neosho (1-7) escaped a pair of early jams before reaching the scoreboard for a run in the bottom of the second. Two runs in the third and a five-run fourth staked the Wildcats to an 8-0 lead. Colgan broke through four four runs in the top of the fifth to trim the lead in half, but Neosho added insurance in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings to help seal the win.
ON THE BUMP
Lane Yost earned the win after blanking the Panthers over four innings, allowing five hits, walking six and striking out four. He stranded nine runners on base.
“Lane is a good competitor, and we know that,” Powers said. “He walked too many, but he did a good job of not letting it get to him. He competes well and doesn’t back down from a challenge. He pitched himself out of some tough situations.”
Wyatt Shadwick allowed four runs on three hits and two walks without recording an out, and Karson Thomas pitched three scoreless innings of relief on two hits, a walk and a strikeout.
Lucas McKain started and took the loss after allowing one run in 1 1/3 innings. Carl Jacquinot allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings, while Janko Kalan allowed five runs in 1/3 of an inning. Caleb Hamilton, Gianna Piccini and Kannon Keller combined to allow one run over 2 2/3 innings.
Colgan threatened in each of the first two innings only to see Yost get out of both threatening situations without allowing a run. The Panthers left runners on first and second in the first inning before Yost got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second after recording a strikeout and inducing a fielder’s choice groundout.
Neosho’s Ryan Cargile led off the bottom of the second with a double down to left-center field before moving to third on a passed ball. After Wyatt Keplar was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and third, Eli Zar dropped down a squeeze bunt to score Cargile and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead through two complete frames.
“There have only been two games where we weren’t trailing after the first inning,” Powers said. “We wanted to focus on making sure we got that first run across. I have confidence Eli can hit, but we saw how they were lining up, and with first and third, we like to do that safety squeeze. He put it in a perfect spot.”
Neosho struck for two more runs in the last of the third inning. A leadoff walk to River Brill followed by Chase Flynn getting hit by a pitch put the first two batters on base. Yost helped his own cause in the next at-bat with an RBI double down the line to left to make the score 3-0. Cargile followed with an RBI groundout to push the lead to four runs.
Colgan loaded the bases again in the top of the fourth inning, but once again, Yost was able to get out of trouble after striking out McKain swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
“That was huge because we have been in a lot of those situations this year and they didn’t go our way,” Powers said. “That has been our main problem. … To be in that situation and to get a break is a big confidence builder. It swung the momentum in our favor.”
The Wildcats came up with a big inning offensively to push the lead to a touchdown and two-point conversion, scoring five runs on five hits and three walks to push the lead to 8-0.
“It was a big confidence builder for our team,” Powers said of the big fourth inning. “We may not have the power we’ve had in the past, but we have a lot of guys who can put the ball in play. I think we’ve done that for most of the season, but today, we hit them where they weren’t. … To have the confidence to go up there and score runs, we need to keep stringing hits together.”
Brill got the scoring started with a bases-loaded, two-run single up the middle to make the score 5-0. Cargile added a two-run double later in the inning, his second two-bagger of the game. Zar drew a bases-loaded walk to wrap the scoring in the inning.
Colgan finally broke through in the top of the fifth, and the Panthers did it in a big way—crossing home four times on three hits and two walks to cut the lead in half, 8-4. After Keller and Hamilton walked to lead off the inning, Kaden Vogel brought home the first run with a single to left before Cooper Simmons followed with an RBI single through the left side. Colin Hite singled home Vogel with a line drive to center and was the fifth straight Panther to reach base.
Thomas entered the game in relief and surrendered a sac fly to Blaise Dawson to make the score 8-4 and got the remaining two outs without allowing another run to score.
Neosho came up with some insurance in the fifth and sixth innings. The Wildcats scored a run in the bottom of the fifth when Cargile reached first on an infield hit to short, scoring Brill, who singled earlier in the inning. Neosho added another run in the bottom of the sixth when Keplar, who led off the frame with a hit-by-pitch, scored on an RBI double to deep right-center field by Jose Ortega.
Thomas worked a 1-2-3 sixth and induced a 6-4-3 double play in the seventh to end the game.
“He does a great job locating and forces guys to swing the bat,” Powers said of Thomas’ outing in relief. “He has done it all year, even against tough opponents. I am really happy for him because we didn’t know how much time (on the mound) he would get. … He throws strikes, competes and his composure is really good.”
AT THE PLATE
Cargile finished with a perfect day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, a team-high three RBI and a run scored. Yost was also perfect with a 3-for-3 game, a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Brill had two hits, two RBI and scored a team-high three runs. Zar had two hits, two RBI and scored a run. Ortega went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Hite had two hits and drove in a run to lead Colgan. Vogel had a hit, scored a run and drove in one. Dawson also had a hit and an RBI.
Neosho hosts Joplin at 4:30 on April 1.