Friday, April 22, 2011
New Bloomfield Through eight games, the New Bloomfield Wildcats have been consistent with one thing: loud and productive bats.
The glove has let down his team more than he’d like to admit, says Wildcats head coach Brandon Talbot, but his players have never let up at the plate.
And one night after a season-high run output in a 13-7 win over previously unbeaten Eugene, New Bloomfield’s bats responded again with a season-best offensive performance.
The Wildcats (6-3) pounded out 19 hits, jumped on top early and crossed the plate often in a 20-1 demolition of Tuscumbia on Thursday night.
“We’ve hit the ball solidly all season,” Talbot said. “No matter how we’ve done from game to game, I am always pleased with how we hit.”
The New Bloomfield bats were brash from the very first pitch, when junior center fielder Austin Pittman roped a leadoff double to left-center and then stole third base on the second pitch to senior left fielder Aaron Bedsworth.
Pittman scored on a groundout by junior right fielder Skylar Lucas, then Bedsworth came home on an RBI single by junior designated hitter Brendon Bailey to make it 2-0.
In all, the Wildcats batted around in the first inning and sent 12 players to the plate. Eight of the 12 batters crossed home plate on seven hits, giving New Bloomfield — which was playing at home as the visiting team because of a last-minute venue change — a comfortable lead after just half an inning.
“We hit the ball well today and had to hit it hard since Tuscumbia wasn’t making too many errors,” Talbot said.
When the Lions finally got the Wildcats out of the dugout and onto the field, they didn’t keep them there for too long. New Bloomfield senior pitcher Taylor Mattern took the hill as Talbot’s starter.
The right-hander didn’t have to be lights out on the mound because his offense was so potent. Mattern pitched out of a couple of jams and allowed just one run on three hits.
Tuscumbia’s lone run came in the first inning when Todd Ilsenfritz’s ground-rule double to left knocked in Cole Lawson to make it 8-1.
“He did a good job and kept the ball down against them,” Talbot said of Mattern. “He pitched four innings and really looked good out there today.”
The Wildcats kept knocking the ball around the field in the second, most of it coming with two outs. They tacked on three more hits in the inning, including a one-out double by senior second baseman Daniel Berry, one of his three hits on the day.
Berry eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by senior catcher Tim Long.
New Bloomfield hit two home runs in the win over Eugene and blasted two more on two successive pitches Thursday night. The first came off the bat of sophomore first baseman Greg Bedsworth, who sent the first pitch he saw over the fence in left for a two-run shot.
Pittman then sent the next pitch down the left-field line and kept it just fair for a solo home run to make it a 13-1 game. Pittman was 4-for-4 with three runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base.
“He was one of those guys that was struggling at the plate a bit but got a few hits (Wednesday night) and then did really well at the plate tonight,” Talbot said.
The Wildcats did most of their damage at the plate Thursday night without senior shortstop Kolby O’Dowd and senior first baseman Zach Rehagen. O’Dowd underwent a precautionary MRI on his shoulder and did not arrive back in time to play, while Rehagen earned a day off.
The Wildcats came into the preseason ranked No. 4 in Class 2, but had to postpone the first two games of the season as many of the players were still recovering from a deep run in the state basketball playoffs.
New Bloomfield, ranked No. 10 in the latest poll by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association, felt that time would help the team gel to its capabilities and Talbot is confident that is happening.
“I knew once we got all our players in and got enough time to practice, that we’d come together,” Talbot said. “I think we are going to only get better.”
In Wednesday night’s Show-Me Conference victory over Eugene, Rehagen went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and two doubles, and finished with eight RBI. Aaron Bedsworth was also 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Greg Bedsworth picked up the win on the mound, allowing one earned run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings while striking out three.
The Wildcats bowed in the junior varsity game 10-4.
New Bloomfield plays at Show-Me foe Linn at 5 p.m. Monday.