NEW BLOOMFIELD -- In a matchup of the "new" schools, the host, No. 3 seed New Bloomfield Wildcats, showing Bloomfield was the better "new," run-ruling the No. 6 seed New Haven Shamrocks 11-1 in five innings in the Class 2 District 8 tournament opening round Friday at Rod Haley Field.
At the plate, the Wildcats capitalizing on New Haven's mistakes proved decisive, as it plated eight on plays where the Shamrocks made an error, wild pitch, or overthrow.
"We're taking one pitch at a time, one at a time, one game at a time," New Bloomfield coach Justin Forsythe said. "And you got to take advantage of everything they gave you; we did a pretty good job of that today. Starting off offensively, we took some pretty good at-bats, took some free baserunners with walks, hit by pitches. We executed some things that we did offensively, which turned into some things to allow us to score some runs with us running and doing some of the things, taking the extra bases. It's good to see us do those things and be aware of those things, especially in district baseball."
On the mound, New Bloomfield pitchers Eli Bailey and Brayden Carroll combined to allow no earned runs on a hit and a walk while striking out eight in five innings.
"That's tremendous to see," Forsythe said. "Again, both freshmen amount opening up a district round game for us and them not being able to know what it's truly like. We can talk through things, and we can talk about things that happened, but truly district baseball is different and pressure folds people fast. You got to be able to handle those things and to get them out there on the mound early, get them experienced, understand what it's about and be locked in. Maybe kill some nerves when a big game comes on Monday now against Russellville."
Backtracking to the offense, the Wildcats notched two hits when they scored two runs in the bottom of the first.
After New Bloomfield's leadoff batter struck out, the Wildcats' Bailey roped a single to the left fielder, then Braden Jackson singled as New Haven's pitcher, catcher and first baseman missed the pop fly just in front of home plate.
Before Gavin Thomas could swing at a pitch in the next at-bat, New Bloomfield's Matthew Killian (pinch-running for Bailey) stole third as the Shamrock's second baseman couldn't catch the throw from third on the double steal, sending Killian home and Jackson to third from first on the same error.
Three batters later, Jackson scored on the first of two balks in the contest to make it 2-0 Wildcats.
New Bloomfield one-upped itself in the second, sending three home while recording its first RBI.
Brendon Carter tallied the Wildcats' first RBI, sending Gavin Stumpf home on a sacrifice fly to right.
Like the first, New Bloomfield took advantage of New Haven miscues, registering its final two runs in the second from Shamrock mishaps.
The beneficiary of New Haven's first run-scoring mistake in the second was Andrew Fouch, who stole third as the catcher overthrew his third baseman and then advanced home following the errant pickoff. Then, for the second time in as many innings, Killian went home from a Shamrocks' mess up, as New Haven's third baseman couldn't catch a pickoff attempt from his pitcher.
For the second straight inning, the Wildcats notched their second and final RBI and totaled three runs in the third, and it came after the Shamrocks tallied their lone run of the contest in the top half.
Fouch registered New Bloomfield's second RBI with one out, lining a base hit up the middle. But he wasn't done yet, as Fouch scored on a wild pitch during the final at-bat of the third to give him a team-high two runs.
Later in that same at-bat, Fouch reached home, and Jackson did as well, as they scored on passed balls.
Keeping their run-scoring inning streak alive, the Wildcats tacked on a run in the fourth, extending their advantage to 9-1. Making it three straight runs on passed balls, Bailey made it home on a wild pitch with two outs.
Getting the run rule while finishing the contest with at least a run in every inning, New Bloomfield plated two with two outs.
The Wildcats' two runs came when all-conference talent Jackson was at the plate, but they didn't need his bat to do the work as they scored twice before he finished the at-bat. First, New Bloomfield's Killian scored before Jackson came up to the dish, stealing third and going home on an overthrow, then Bailey achieved the run rule by making it home on an error by the Shamrocks' catcher.
Unlike New Bloomfield, New Haven couldn't string hits together, nor did it have many opportunities to exploit Wildcats' errors. The Shamrocks committed six errors, while New Bloomfield made two.
New Haven scored its only run in the third when the Wildcats recorded their two errors.
To score that run, the Shamrocks' David Otten drilled the ball to center, and New Bloomfield's centerfielder mishandled it, sending Emmett Panhorst home; Otten tried putting himself 90 feet from scoring but was called out at third for the final out of the inning.
Tossing his second stellar start in as many this week, Bailey earned the win, unlike his previous appearance. He allowed one unearned run on one hit and a walk in four innings while striking out five.
Jacob Gerdes took the loss for New Haven (1-21). The sophomore allowed eight runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks in three innings while striking out four.
Not only did New Bloomfield (8-16) get the district opening-round victory it wanted, but it did so under pristine field conditions when there was rain and games in the area were canceled on Thursday.
"We truly appreciate the facilities that we have here," Forsythe said. "We enjoy them. We take care of them. We put a lot of pride into it, and to get any win on your own field that's big and have your fan support and the kids at school to be able to make it out and see the first half of the game and be a part of that. That's huge. We want to bring as many people here as we can because we do have nice facilities here, the baseball complex. We want to show those things off."
The Wildcats must be at their best when they host No. 2 seed, Class 2 No. 4 Russellville (23-8) -- who could have future Missouri Tiger Charlie Miller back from injury and potentially on the bump -- in the District 8 tournament semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Rod Haley Field. It'll be a rematch, one where New Bloomfield will seek revenge, as Russellville beat the Wildcats 5-0 in the semifinals of last season's District 8 tournament.
"Last year we got Charlie (Miller), and he beat us (5-0) whenever they were ranked very highly again last year and won a state title," Forsythe said. "We know, Charlie. We will be ready for his velocity. If he's on the mound, we will be ready for the (Jesse) Daniels boy or (Jake) Schulte or whoever they throw, the (Luke) Oligschlaeger boy that threw last week. We'll be ready, and we understand what time it is."