MEXICO, Mo. -- The New Bloomfield Wildcats opened their season by defeating the Missouri Military Academy Colonels 8-0 in a six-inning game Monday, which was shortened an inning due to darkness.
Two Wildcats pitchers combined to throw a shutout. The Wildcats' Gavin Thomas induced a fly out from Hunter Manderson to finish the game.
New Bloomfield secured the victory thanks to five runs in the second inning. The Wildcats put the pressure on with back-to-back doubles by Braden Jackson and Thomas to cap off the scoring in the frame.
"Game 1, you don't know what to expect," New Bloomfield coach Justin Forsythe said. "Everyone had nerves out there, Game 1 of spring, and it was a slow start for sure. As we got through the lineup a little bit, things got better as they saw more pitches.
"By the start of the third inning, we were up by five runs. Put good at-bats together, taking advantage of things that come our way, and really took advantage of big hits -- two-run singles and some other things. It was a good night offensively for us."
One bright spot for MMA was a double by Bryce Slayton in the third inning.
Brendon Carter led things off on the pitcher's mound for New Bloomfield, surrendering no runs on one hit over four innings, striking out six and walking none.
"Both of our pitchers did that. Brendon came in and threw a strong four innings, then Gavin did the same thing," Forsythe said. "(Brendon) threw super well in the jamboree and came out and did really well tonight. Gavin didn't throw well in the jamboree, but he did tonight and threw strikes."
Manderson started the game for MMA. The bulldog lasted 1 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and five runs while striking out three. Slayton and Anthony Melick entered the game from the bullpen, throwing 3 1/3 innings and one inning, respectively.
New Bloomfield totaled eight hits in the game. Thomas and Chase Bailey all had multiple hits for the Wildcats. Thomas led New Bloomfield with three hits in four at-bats.
The Wildcats didn't commit a single error in the field. Brayden Carroll had the most chances in the field with eight.
"The goal was to throw strikes early and allow our defense to play," Forsythe said. "Our defense will allow us to hopefully win games, so we'll try to use that to our advantage. Put balls in play our defense can handle and throw strikes. Get ahead and pitch to contact."
Fielding, pitching and hitting -- the whole nine yards -- helped to clinch a Wildcats season-opening victory.
"The most important thing is to win or lose?" Forsythe said. "Tonight, we came out ahead with a solid six innings, and it got shortened due to darkness -- no lights at their place. We had a very solid six innings and did some things that were good at really well tonight.
"We didn't make mistakes, and that's what it's about. No matter who's across there, we're gonna try to be as complete as a game as possible for us. There are some things we did really well and some things we did good. Took advantage of the mistakes they gave us, and they made some mistakes tonight."
New Bloomfield (1-0) stays on the road, taking on the Salisbury Panthers (0-1) at 5 p.m. Friday in Salisbury. The Wildcats lost 8-6 to the Panthers -- the 2022 Class 2 District 7 champion -- on March 25 in New Bloomfield last season, and Salisbury is 3-1 against New Bloomfield over the past six seasons.
"Salisbury will be a really solid team," Forsythe said. "I'm not gonna be surprised when the rankings come out if they're a ranked team. Their team has had all these kids the last couple of years, too. They're gonna be really solid at the top of the rotation."