Mustangs’ McKarnin pitches no-hitter

Mustangs win one of two
in SEK play with Comets

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High’s Mark Bristol swings for the fences during Monday’s doubleheader against Chanute High’s Blue Comets at Riverside Park. Bristol hit a grand slam in the second game as Iola won 13-0, after losing 10-5 in the first game. Watching Bristol from the on-deck circle is Derrek McKarnin, who pitched a no-hitter for Iola in the second game.

Iola High’s Mustangs took a game to heat up in the frigid weather Monday afternoon and early evening at Riverside Park.
They lost 10-5 in their season and home opener against Chanute High’s Blue Comets.
Then, with Derrek Mc-Karnin bringing the heat from the mound, the Mustangs blazed to a 13-0 win over the Comets.
McKarnin, Iola’s senior ace, walked just one batter in the second game. He retired Chanute in order in the first three innings and in the fifth.
In the fourth inning, Chanute had two batters reach on back-to-back errors by the Mustangs. With one out, McKarnin issued a walk to Matt Bollig which loaded the bases for the Comets.
Chanute’s Tyler Waggnor hit the ball to Chris Heffern at shortstop. Heffern started a 6-4-3 double play throwing to second baseman Ryan Latta who made the throw to first baseman Nick Cook to end the Comet threat and the inning.
McKarnin recorded five strikeouts in the game.
“Derrek pitching well helped in the second game. But we also started hitting the ball better in that game. In the first game, we had a lot of hits off the end of the bat,” said Mark Percy, Mustang head coach.
“We started hitting the ball hard late in the first game. We only had six extra-base hits all last season. We’ve surpassed that in two games. We also had four home runs Monday. We normally have maybe four for a season.”
In the second game, Iola used a home run to get on the board in the first inning. McKarnin had a one-out single and then scored when Nick Cook un-loaded on a pitch for a two-run shot over the fence. Connor Frazell reached on an error, stole second and came home on a single by Chris Heffern.
Leading 3-0, the Mustangs ripped the Comets for eight runs in the third inning. Cook started it by reaching on an error. Frazell singled. Chris Heffern hit an RBI double and Andy Chester doubled in two runs.
Chester, Latta and Jerrik Sigg were on base when Mark Bristol hammered a grand slam. McKarnin and catcher Drew Mueller followed with singles. With two gone, Chris Heffern drove in a run with a base hit.
In the fourth inning, Latta walked and Sigg was hit by a pitch. Bristol reached on a fielder’s choice. McKarnin drove in two runs on a ground-out.
For Iola, McKarnin had three singles and Chris Heffern hit a single and a double.
Bristol and Cook each had a home run while Chester and Latta each had a double. Frazell and Mueller had a single apiece.
Iola had eight hits in the first game but left eight runners on base. Chanute led 4-1 after four innings and added four runs in the fifth and two in the 10th.
“We struggled finding the strike zone. When you walk 10 and hit two batters, you’re not going to win a game,” Percy said. “I don’t know if it was first game jitters or the cold but we just didn’t play very well in the first game.”
Iola had three errors behind four pitchers. Latta started and Chris Heffern come on in the second inning. Logan Ellis followed and Corey Taylor pitched in the seventh. Chanute had nine hits in the game.
McKarnin and Frazell had back-to-back solo home runs in the fifth inning. Frazell also had a double and McKarnin singled.
Mueller, who caught both games, and Chris Heffern had a double apiece. Bristol and Clint Heffern had a single apiece.
The Mustangs are 1-1 in Southeast Kansas League play and overall.
Iola travels to Independence next Tuesday for SEK play.
Iola’s varsity doubleheader at Labette County, which was postponed twice, is now scheduled for April 22 in Altamont.