The Bunceton Dragons baseball team picked up a split with two games in as many days by falling to St. Elizabeth 11-1 on Thursday and beating Prairie Home 13-8 on Friday.
In the game against St. Elizabeth on Thursday, Bunceton coach Tony Turner said he doesn’t feel that the score represents how good his team played that night.
“The boys hit the ball hard but unfortunately for us the St. Elizabeth fielders were exactly where we hit the ball,” Turner said.
Coach Turner sent freshman Dillon Alpers to the mound for his first high school appearance as a pitcher. Turner said Alpers located the ball fairly decent and his pitches for the most part were working. “St. Elizabeth did hit the ball a few times but for the most part did not make solid contact but produced some shallow hits,” Turner said.
Turner said the Dragons also had a good game as the focus of the game was practicing fundamental play, setting goals for the game and achieving a certain level of play during the game. “Sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it does not,” stated Turner.
In the game against Prairie Home, the Dragons had a battle on their hands while trailing the Panthers 5-4 after two complete innings before rallying back with nine unanswered runs over the next-five innings to go up 13-5. Meanwhile, in the bottom-half of the seventh, Prairie Home rallied back with three runs to cut the lead back to five.
Rylee Knapheide picked up the win on the mound for Bunceton and struck out 10 batters while giving up five runs on two hits and five walks in five innings pitched. Layne Maddox then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed three runs on two hits and two walks while striking out three.
Clayton Pethan took the loss for Prairie Home while pitching in relief of starter Creed Flood. Flood pitched the first-three innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five batters. Pethan then came in and pitched four innings in relief and surrendered eight runs on seven hits and two walks.
Brayden Doyle went 4-for-4 in the game for Bunceton with four singles and three RBIs.
Blake Petsel was 3-for-3 with one single, two triples and one RBI. Turner said Petsel also took part in a suicide squeeze in the fourth that was laid down by freshman Jason Burnett.
Mason Wells and Dylan Flatt each had a single, double and three RBIs while Rylee Knapheide added two singles and Jason Burnett with one single and two RBIs.
Turner said gelling is an important part of a team success. “I am always telling the boys that everything in baseball is contagious,” Turner said. “It takes only one player or thing in a game that creates excitement and then your team as a whole is hitting. On the other hand it can only take one negative thing and your team can flounder. The teams bats and attitude created the ingredient needed to achieve a team victory. We decided as a team early on that everyone on this team has a job. If the Bunceton Dragons win or lose a game it will be because of the performance of all players. I’m proud of this team and I am ready for the team to create some good memories this fall season.”
Flood and Pethan each doubled and drove in two runs for Prairie Home. Alex Rhode finished the game with a single and one RBI while Kassen Lock added one single and Ty Stidham with one RBI.