RUSSELLVILLE -- Taking on a pair of reigning state champions, the New Bloomfield Wildcats lost 19-4 in four innings to the Class 2 No. 1 Russellville Indians in their final pool play game before falling 22-0 in 2½ innings to the Tolton Trailblazers in the third-place game of the Russellville Baseball Tournament Saturday at Russellville High School.
In both games, the Wildcats allowed their opponent to score six runs in the first inning.
Russellville (20-6) plated its six runs in five straight at-bats in the bottom of the first inning. The Indians' Christopher Seaver scored on Jesse Daniel's bases-loaded walk, Bryce Bryant hit a two-RBI single to right field, Justin Seaver drilled an RBI single to right, Josiah Herman smashed an RBI double to left and Justin Seaver reached home on Luke Oligshlaeger's fielder's choice to short.
New Bloomfield made it a two-run game, tallying all four of its runs in the second. Gavin Thomas scored on a wild pitch during Brayden Carroll's at-bat, Carroll plated Wyatt Jordan on his groundout to second, and Brendon Carter hit a two-RBI single to short.
The Indians put up another six-run inning in the second. Bryant hit an RBI single to left, Justin Seaver an RBI base hit to center, Herman an RBI one-bagger to center, Justin Seaver scored on a wild pitch during Nolan Gartner's at-bat and Ethan Hickey smoked a two-RBI single to right.
During the third, Russellville tacked on five more runs from two long balls, making it 17-4. Daniel smacked a two-run home run to left, and Gartner roped a three-run homer to center.
Recording his second home run, the Indians' Daniel called the game with his two-run shot to center in the fourth.
The Wildcats had four players tally a single apiece: Carter, Thomas, Jordan and Carroll. Carter had a team-high two RBI for New Bloomfield.
Gavin Stumpf was tagged with the loss for New Bloomfield. Tossing the first 2⅓ innings, he allowed 17 runs on 13 hits and five walks while striking out one.
Daniel led Russellville's offense, recording a game-high two home runs and five RBI; Herman notched a game-high three hits.
Indians starter Oligshlaeger earned the win. In 1⅔ innings, he allowed four runs on a hit and walk while striking out one.
"We knew coming in that we weren't gonna show them anything," New Bloomfield coach Justin Forsythe said. "We didn't think that no matter what we did, district seeding wasn't gonna change. So we kind of knew that.
"We took that approach, and we threw some guys that we felt might get us a chance to give them a different look than what they're used to seeing. For a couple of innings, it worked. We just kind of fell apart. We're not throwing strikes.
"It was a good battle by our young guys, man. Just being able to show up and play good teams and see all that -- that's what we want. That's gonna make us better in the end."
Playing in the third-place game of the Russellville Baseball Tournament for the first time in five years (three tournaments, 2022 and 2020 editions were canceled), the Wildcats placed fourth like they did that season.
New Bloomfield couldn't get anything going against Tolton, recording just one hit while allowing 22 runs on eight hits and walks and six hit-by-pitches while committing two errors.
With two outs in the top of the first, Braden Jackson singled to center for the Wildcats' only hit.
Aside from that at-bat, Tolton starter Connor Head had New Bloomfield hitters on their toes thanks to his overpowering stuff/velocity.
Earning the win on the bump for the Trailblazers, Head punched out five batters in three innings. Head struck out the side in the third on 14 pitches.
"He's a good arm," Forsythe said. "Good velocity, good breaking ball. We got to be ready for that. If you want to win a district title, compete for a district title, those are the kind of problems we're gonna have to beat."
Tolton (10-6) used its power hitting in the first and plate discipline in the second to achieve the run rule.
Five of the Trailblazers' runs in the first came from a two- and three-run home run.
Wildcats starter Carroll retired the first two batters in the first, forcing the leadoff hitter into a flyout to right and the next batter into a groundout at short.
After Carroll hit the No. 3 hitter, Tolton's Lucas Wietholder sent an outside pitch over the fence in right-center for a two-run homer.
Two batters later, the Trailblazers' Justus Martin lined an RBI single past third and into left.
Capping off the six-run first with a bang, Tolton's William Fretwell skied a three-run shot to left-center.
It only got worse for New Bloomfield in the second, as the Trailblazers tallied 16 runs, with eight coming on bases-loaded walks or hit-by-pitches.
Tolton's six scoring plays in the second that weren't a bases-loaded walk or hit-by-pitch were Wietholder scoring on Liam Newman's fielder's choice to right, a Fretwell RBI double to left, an Aden Tipton RBI single to left, No. 5's RBI sacrifice fly to right, No. 20's RBI single to center and No. 4's RBI base hit to left.
"When we're successful, we're getting ahead, our arms are getting ahead in counts, and we're able to make people think and guess what we're throwing," Forsythe said. "We weren't able to do that. We were behind in counts. Earlier today, we had to throw fastballs, and they didn't miss. Credit them; they didn't miss. Then, once we kind of got some arms in there, they just weren't ready today, weren't prepared.
"We weren't our normal self. But we're gonna battle; we're gonna work through it."
Wildcats starter Carroll was credited with the loss. He allowed 10 runs (four earned) on three hits and two walks in one inning.
New Bloomfield obviously would like to forget what happened Saturday, but the Wildcats can hold their hats on beating Class 5 Kansas City private school Pembroke Hill 11-10 in eight innings Friday.
"For a Class 2 tournament and for the talent that's coming in here, it's a really good tournament for us to compete," Forsythe said. "Could have been different if we wouldn't have got Russellville in that second round or been in that pool.
"But last night was a really good one for this young team, and we're proud. We're happy to have that one for sure. We're gonna continue to work and put ourselves in games like this at all times. We're not going to back down from a challenge, and we're gonna challenge ourselves with our schedule and continue to try to compete the best we can."
The Wildcats (7-12, 2-2 Show-Me) will take on another reigning state champion when they host Class 1 No. 6 St. Elizabeth (11-5, 3-2) at 5 p.m. Tuesday. St. Elizabeth run-ruled Russellville 15-4 in the Russellville Baseball Tournament championship game Saturday.
"They are maybe playing the best baseball in Central Missouri right now," Forsythe said. "And we're gonna put ourselves in the middle of it and see what we can do to challenge them and challenge ourselves and hopefully come prepared to play."