Mustang offense shut down, out of regional

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High’s defense played well in a 4-1 loss in the first round of the Kansas Class 4A Regional Baseball Tournament Monday in Fort Scott. Below, Mustang second baseman Ryan Latta makes a toss from his back to teammate Chris Heffern, left, at second base. Heffern, the shortstop, tried to turn the double play as he went into the air to avoid the sliding Louisburg High runner.

FORT SCOTT — To score runs a team needs to hit the baseball and get on base.
Iola High’s Mustangs weren’t able to do that against Louisburg High’s Wildcats Monday in the opening round of the 2009 Kansas Class 4A Regional Baseball Tournament. So the best season the IHS baseball team has had in its young history closed on Ty Cullor Field in Fort Scott.
The Wildcats scratched out a 4-1 win over the Mustangs. They scored single runs in the first, fourth, fifth and seventh inning.
In other first-round regional games at Fort Scott, top-seed Prairie View defeated Fort Scott 9-4, Paola blanked Chanute 10-0 and second-seeded Osawatomie beat Anderson County 5-1. Today’s semifinals at Fort Scott have Prairie View playing Paola at 2 o’clock and Osawatomie playing Louisburg at 4:30.
The regional championship game is at 7 o’clock tonight in Fort Scott.
“Our pitching was decent and we had just one error defensively. We just didn’t hit the ball,” said Mark Percy, Mustang head coach.
Iola had just six base runners in the game. The Mustangs made it a 3-1 game by scoring in the sixth inning.
With two gone, senior Drew Mueller doubled to right field. Derrek McKarnin, another senior, ripped a double to left center field to drive in the run.
The only other hit of the game for Iola was a leadoff single by senior Mark Bristol to open the game.
“We get the single and Mark stole second base with no outs. It looked like a chance to at least tie the game up but we have two strikeouts and a pop-up. That was big in this game,” Percy said.
Iola had junior Ryan Latta reach on a one-out error in the third. Louisburg had a good defensive play when its right fielder corralled a hard hit baseball by Bristol.
Down 4-1 and two gone in the bottom of the seventh, the Mustangs still had life. Freshman Jerrik Sigg worked a walk but senior Andy Chester ground out to end the inning, the game and the season for Iola.
“We had a good season but a disappointing end. We believed if we had played well this week that we’d have a chance to win the regional. It didn’t work out that way,” Percy said.
Junior Connor Frazell was Iola’s starting pitcher. He pitched four innings and was charged with two runs on five hits, two walks and two hit batters. He struck out two.
McKarnin came on in relief to pitch three innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks and had one strikeout.
Five seniors played their final game for the Mustangs. They were Bristol, Chester, Nick Cook, McKarnin and Mueller.
“We’ll miss our seniors. They have been part of the foundation of the Iola High program. They set a standard for our younger players to work for and they showed by example the work it takes to be successful,” Percy said.
Iola finished the 2009 season at 10-7. It is the first winning season in IHS history.
The Mustangs finished third in the Southeast Kansas League standings. They were 8-6 in SEK action.