Woods, Williams power Chieftains in win over Turner
Tonganoxie baseball splits doubleheader with Golden Bears
Tonganoxie High baseball vs. Turner
The Chieftain baseball team welcomed Turner to town Monday for a doubleheader. The Chieftains won the first game, 4-3, then dropped a 17-3 decision in the nightcap.
Wins have been hard to come by for the Tonganoxie High baseball team this season. However, when sophomore Travis Woods starts on the mound, success has been much more frequent.
Woods picked up his second win in as many starts Monday and the Chieftains (2-6) split a home doubleheader with Turner.
Senior Ben Williams led the way at the plate, going 3-for-4, including a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. After watching a one-run lead slip away in the final inning, senior Tyler Freeman got on base with a one-out double and advanced to third on a passed ball. Williams made Turner pay for its mistake when he drove a ball into right field on the next pitch.
"That was kind of an ideal situation for me," Williams said. "I was just looking for something I could drive on the outside corner. I got it and put a pretty good swing on it."
The Golden Bears (6-4) loaded the bases in the first inning of the opener, but Woods escaped the scoring threat. The Tonganoxie offense broke through in the bottom of the frame when Freeman scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Shane Levy.
Turner briefly took the lead when it scored a pair in the top of the third, but Tonganoxie tied the game in the home half of the inning when freshman Connor Wentz-Hall scored on a fielding error. After allowing two runners to score in the third, Woods regained his composure and retired the next seven hitters.
"He's got a lot of confidence in his ability to throw strikes," coach Mitch Loomis said of Woods. "That makes a big difference. A lot of times, if you're doing that, good things will happen. The defense was pretty good also."
The Chieftains went back in front in the fourth back-to-back doubles by junior Brett Shelton and freshman Brady Swedo.
Woods ran into some control issues in the top of the seventh, walking three straight hitters to load the bases. Shelton threw a runner out at home to get the Chieftains within one out of a victory, but Woods walked another hitter, forcing a 3-3 tie and setting up the late-game heroics of Freeman and Williams.
"What I loved about that inning was Freeman hit a double as a senior, then Ben drove him in," Loomis said. "They just took care of business, which is good."
Woods went the distance to improve to 2-0 on the season. He struck out four and walked seven.
The Chieftains couldn't replicate their early success, as they dropped a 17-3, five-inning decision in the nightcap. Turner racked up eight runs in the third inning alone, sending 14 hitters to the plate.
Senior Austin Harkrader was tagged with the loss, allowing six earned runs on six hits in 2.1 innings. He was relieved by Levy, who threw one inning before junior Cody Saladin came in to finish the game.
Six of the Golden Bears' 17 runs were products of defensive errors.
"We just did a very poor job of backing (Harkrader) up defensively," Loomis said. "From a pitching standpoint, he was the best he'd been all year, but we made a few errors and they dropped a couple hits in."
Tonganoxie got on the board with two in the fourth and one in the fifth. Levy went 2-for-3 in the contest, including a solo home run.
The Chieftains will return to action Tuesday when they travel to Lansing for a single game. They'll hit the road again Thursday to complete an earlier game with Bishop Ward. The second game of their March 26 doubleheader was called after three innings due to lack of daylight.
Turner 002 000 1 — 3
Tonganoxie 101 100 1 — 4
Leading hitters: Ben Williams 3-4, 2B, RBI; Tyler Freeman 2-3, 2B.
Turner 318 23X X — 17
Tonganoxie 000 21X X — 3
Leading hitters: Shane Levy 2-3, HR, RBI; Connor Wentz-Hall 2-2, RBI.