No. 1 Pilot Grove and No. 2 New Franklin will play tonight in the semifinals
The Bunceton Dragons baseball team did the little things Saturday night in the opening round of the Class 1 District 10 Tournament at New Franklin.
As the No. 4 seed versus fifth-seeded Prairie Home, the Dragons did all of their damage early by exploding for nine runs in the first-two innings for a 11-6 victory.
In the early game, No. 6 Jamestown knocked off Calvary Lutheran 4-3.
Tournament action will continue tonight, with top-seeded Pilot Grove playing Bunceton at 5 and No. 2 New Franklin battling Jamestown at 6:45. The winners will advance to the championship game on Wednesday, May 15 starting at 6.
Bunceton coach Yancy Cody said this is the first time Bunceton has made it past the first round of districts since any of the players can remember. “We started off strong but then started to do too much at the plate instead of just putting the ball in play,” Cody said. “Will Twenter caught another awesome game throwing out two runners at second and allowing only two pitches to reach the backstop with guys on base. Kyler Tucker and Kyle Held both did a great job combining for 16 strikeouts. Again, I’m extremely proud of the boys and the great season they’ve had so far.”
In the first-two innings alone for Bunceton, the Dragons sent a total of 16 batters to the plate and scored nine runs on six hits. Junior Kyler Tucker had the big hit in the first for Bunceton with a two-RBI double to left-center to make it 3-0. Meanwhile, after holding the Panthers scoreless in its half of the second, the Dragons exploded for another five runs on a RBI-single up the middle by Jacob Clevenger and a two-RBI single to left by Tucker.
Of course trailing 9-0 after the first-two innings wasn’t exactly what Prairie Home had in mind to start the first-two innings. However, in the top-half of the third, the Panthers rallied back with three runs on four walks and singles each by Bennett Stock and Rayce Kendrick to cut the lead to six at 9-3.
Unfortunately for Prairie Home, they never got any closer in the ballgame as Bunceton added one run in the bottom-half of the third on a single to left by Kyle Held and one in the fourth on a RBI-single to right by Darrell Davis to make it 11-3. Then, in the final-three innings, Prairie Home sent one across in the fifth on a RBI-triple to right by Jonathan Brandes and two again in the seventh on a two-RBI triple to right by Kody Utterback to round out the scoring.
Prairie Home coach Jesse Oswald said his team didn’t show up to hit this game.
“The first-three innings we did a horrible job of putting the ball in play,” Oswald said. “After that, we were able to get to their pitchers, but it was too little too late. Pitching-wise, Trever settled down after the first inning and threw a solid game. They hit him hard the first inning but then he was able to keep them off-balanced. We have never been able to put together a complete game all season; hitting, pitching and field. We still were able to make a game of it, but again it wasn’t enough.”
Kyler Tucker picked up the win on the mound for Bunceton while Trever Huth suffered the loss for Prairie Home, who closed out the season at 2-7 overall.
Tucker pitched the first-three innings and struck out nine batters while giving up three runs on three hits and four walks. Kyle Held then came in and pitched four innings in relief and allowed three runs on three hits and seven walks while striking out seven.
For Prairie Home, Huth pitched 4 2/3 innings and and surrendered 10 runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out seven. Klay Holliday then came in and pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief and issued one run on three hits and two walks while striking out two.
Bunceton also out-hit Prairie Home 13-7, with Kyler Tucker going 3-for-3 with two singles, one double and four RBIs. Jacob Clevenger was 3-for-4 with two singles, one double and one RBI while Will Twenter added a single, double and two RBIs, Darrell Davis with two singles and two RBIs, Kyle Held with two singles and one RBI and Ashton Campbell with one single and one RBI.
For Prairie Home, Trever Huth went 2-for-3 with two singles while Jonathan Brandes and Kody Utterback added one triple each and Rayce Kendrick and Ben Stock with one single each.