Tonganoxie baseball wins road twinbill
Other than some constant, spitting rain, opening day for the Chieftains was rather enjoyable.
Tonganoxie won its first baseball games of the 2009 season on Thursday at 3and2 Baseball Complex in Shawnee, as THS defeated Mill Valley, 2-1, in the first game and 10-8 in the second contest for a double-header sweep.
Tied with MVHS entering the seventh of the first contest, the Chieftains plated the winning run in the top of the inning when senior Rob Schlicht scored on a double by junior Brandon Yoder.
Tonganoxie (2-0) took an early one-run lead in the top of the second after Yoder doubled, advanced to third on a grounder and scored on a passed ball, but Mill Valley (0-2) tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth.
Senior Jace Waters started the game and went 4 2/3 innings before Ethan Lorance came in relief to pick up the victory.
The Chieftains had to rally to win the second game. They trailed the Jaguars, 5-1, entering the second inning after a rough beginning for Yoder, starting pitcher in the second game. He couldn’t find the plate and hit three MVHS batters, but Blaize Oelschlaeger entered with one out in the opening frame and threw 3 2/3 innings for a victory.
Despite an early four-run deficit, Oelschlaeger got his teammates fired up in the third inning, when he announced: “We’re not gonna lose this game, guys.”
Tonganoxie responded, scoring six in the fourth to take the lead and adding three in the sixth to secure a 10-8 win.
Lorance went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in the second victory. Dylan Caywood, Tyler Lupton and Yoder each went 2-for-4. Schlicht scored three runs.
Tonganoxie finished the game with 13 hits as Schlicht, Waters, Dylan Puhr and Tucker Hollingsworth each contributed a hit apiece.
The second win had a far different feel to it than the first, which pleased THS coach Phil Loomis.
“It’s nice to see the guys do it both ways,” Loomis said of the pitchers dual and the hit-fest.
What pleased the coach most, though, was that Tonganoxie’s bats didn’t look bad in the 2-1 opener.
“The good thing about it is we hit the ball hard the first game,” he said, adding that, unlike the past couple of seasons, he isn’t worried about the Chieftains swinging and missing when they are aggressive at the plate because they have the ability to put the ball in play.
Loomis was glad to see his team start the season 2-0.
“It’s a testament that guys are devoted to the plan for this year,” he said. “They’re picking each other up and setting a tone that they want to get better every day.”
However, Loomis said the wins were just the beginning of a long haul.
“Of the 100-step time we have this season, we’ve only taken two of those steps,” Loomis said. “We’ve got 98 more to go.”
THS doesn’t play again until Thursday when the Chieftains travel to Bonner Springs for a 5 p.m. game.