Mustangs split with Grizzlies

Register Sports Editor

ALTAMONT — Iola High’s Mustangs played their season-opening baseball games Wednesday.
Well, yes and no. The Southeast Kansas League twin bill at Labette County High was to have been the season opener for both host Grizzlies and the Mustangs. Weather prevented the games from being played in late March.
On Wednesday, the two SEK teams played the makeup games. It ended with the Grizzlies winning the first contest 8-7 and the Mustangs winning 5-4 in the nightcap.
“Right now, we’re getting pretty good pitching. We have to become more consistent in our fielding and throwing of the ball,” said Mark Percy, Mustang head coach.
“The first game was disappointing because we had a 6-0 lead and gave up seven unearned runs in the fourth inning.”
Iola scored two runs in the third to go up 2-0. Connor Frazell and Nick Cook each delivered two-run single in the the fourth inning for the Mustangs.
Cook, who was the Mustang starter, pitched five innings and did not get a decision.
He allowed seven runs on seven hits, one walk and a hit batter. He also struck out two.
Iola tied the game in the sixth at 7-7.
Jerrik Sigg pitched in relief and took the loss. He hurled one inning, giving up one run on one hit and two walks.
In the bottom of the seventh, Labette County had runners on first and third, and Derrek McKarnin, back from a shoulder injury, came in to pitch.
McKarnin intentionally walked a Grizzly batter to load the bases.
“We pulled in the infield to get the play at the plate. We get a ground ball in the infield and make a bad throw. That was the ball game,” Percy said.
Frazell, Cook and Sigg each had two singles in the game. Mark Bristol doubled and Ryan Latta singled.
Frazell was the winning pitcher in the second game for Iola. He worked six innings, charged with four runs on five hits, three walks and two hit batters. He struck out six. Mc-Karnin pitched one inning for the save and struck out two.
The Mustangs scored two runs in the first but so did the Grizzlies. Iola manufactured two runs in the third to take the lead.
Up 4-3 in the sixth, Iola plated an insurance run. Corey Taylor walked and with two out Bristol delivered an RBI triple.
Labette County got a run across in its half of the inning. The Mustangs stopped the Grizzlies right there.
Bristol had a single and the triple. Frazell, Cook, Chris Heffern and R. Latta had a single apiece.
“We played better in the second game. Once we get things clicking defensively, we’ll be alright,” Percy said.
Iola improved to 4-4 overall and in SEK play.
The Mustangs play Yates Center at noon in Friday’s Humboldt High Walter Johnson Baseball Tournament.