A day after the District 11 seedings for the regional Class 3 baseball playoffs were set, two of the teams involved got together for a regular season game at Monett on Thursday. The Monett Cubs defeated the Reeds Spring Wolves in six innings, 15-5.
The Cubs scored in every inning, and though the Wolves set the pace with a run at the beginning of the tilt, they sputtered until late in the game. Down 6-2 in the fifth inning, Reeds Spring benefitted from two dubious umpiring calls in succession, enabling the Wolves to make a game of it. Briefly.
Smash boys Jake Smith and Andy Hagedorn blasted two balls over the fence in the third inning, and with Spenser Witt on the mound, the Cubs were cruising with run production and lockdown defense.
Then in the fifth, Reeds Spring found life and moved one home, making it 6-3. After centerfielder Andy Hagedorn gunned down a runner at third for the second out, a couple of bizarre calls created excitement, in what was another workaday baseball effort by Michael Calhoun's Cubs.
A Wolves' base runner got to third and was tagged out by Marcus Enloe. As Enloe was getting to his feet, the ball dropped out of his mitt and onto the ground. The umpire declared the runner safe.
The bent of the game was crystallized on the next flyball to center. Hagedorn dove to make the catch, making sure to scoop upward to demonstrate he hadn't trapped the baseball. The ruling was that the ball was still in play, so Reeds Spring quickly shepherded two more home.
Now the contest stood 6-5, and the tone went from calm to electric.
Reeds Spring trailed all game. The controversial umpiring call that Hagedorn didn't make the diving catch opened the door for their only opportunity to rally.
Once Monett retired the side, still ahead 6-5, the Cubs went to work with their metal clubs. No one can dispute the result of hitting the heck out of the ball, and the Cubs came to bat with a vengeance.
|In the bottom of the fifth, Marcus McCaffrey walked and was advanced by Colten Phillips' sacrifice bunt. Jesse Bremer's double put the boys in scoring position, and Sparky Roberts punched the clock with a double of his own for two RBI, restoring order in a Cubs kind of way at 8-5.||More walks and another crafty bunt set the stage for Hagedorn. He capped off a memorable day of play with a triple to center, clearing the loaded bases.|
"When guys are on base, I do think differently (about coming to bat)," said junior Hagedorn. "I want to put the ball in play -- bring 'em in. I thought it was out (over the fence for a home run)."
All Hagedorn needed to hit for the cycle was a double, but Monett throttled Reeds Spring in the sixth - three-up, three-down - including the best defensive play of the game with Doug Aldridge's spectacular diving catch in left field. Another pair of Cub runs later, the contest was terminated at 15-5.
Spenser Witt pitched the win on a senior night to call his own. Ever reserved, he managed a smile when he and his parents were brought out onto the field for special recognition.
With the win, Monett goes to 11-5. Reeds Spring falls to 10-10.
Monett resumes the rained-out Monett Invitational on Saturday. Seneca plays Purdy at 10 a.m., Seneca goes again at noon against Monett, Purdy plays East Newton at 2 p.m, and it's East Newton versus Monett at 4 p.m.