Wildcat baseball team wins

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

EUREKA — Hitting was key in the first game and pitching was the decisive factor in the second game Thursday for Yates Center High’s baseball Wildcats.
The Wildcats opened the 2009 baseball season on the road against Eureka High’s Tornadoes under less than desirable weather conditions. The ground was a soggier than normal and it was very cold out.
Yates Center worked through the weather and defeated the Tornadoes 18-8 in the opener and 10-0 in the nightcap. It put the Wildcats at 2-0 in Tri-Valley League and overall play.
“We looked rusty on defense but we did well at the plate. The top of our batting order was very productive,” said Leon Weber, Wildcat head baseball coach, about his team’s first game of the season.
“We really got rolling in the second inning, scoring four runs after two outs.”
Yates Center had 12 hits in the first contest with Eureka. Dalton Smith, Ben Burke and Brent Matile went 10-for-12 at the plate combining for 10 runs and driving in seven.
Smith hit four singles and had two stolen bases. Burke delivered a single, a double and a triple while Matile hit two singles and a double. Michael Bettega and Corey Hedstrom each had a base hit.
Burke was the starting pitcher but gave way to Smith in the first inning because of an injury. He was able to stay in the game playing another position. Burke allowed one hit and walked two pitching.
Smith, who got the win, threw three innings and gave up four runs on one hit and six walks. He struck out one. Weber said the Wildcat defense committed five errors behind Smith. Bettega finished the game on the mound, pitching 1 1/3 innings and giving up four runs on three hits and two walks plus striking out two.
Yates Center used a six-run second inning to take control of the game. The Wildcats added three in the third to lead 11-2. They plated four runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
In the second game, Nick Leis threw a complete game for Yates Center. Leis pitched a two-hit, shutout. He walked two batters and struck out four.
“Nick pitched an excellent game. He kept the ball over the plate and our defense played well behind him with just one error. Eureka had two solid hits,” Weber said.
“The bats just didn’t come around. Devin (Gregg) was huge for us sparking us by going 2-for-2 and a walk at the plate.”
Eureka’s pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone, issuing 11 walks to the Wildcats. Weber said the Wildcats scored five runs on passed balls or wild pitches.
The Wildcats broke open a scoreless game with five runs in the third. They added five more in the fifth. Gregg hit a single and a double, scored three runs and drove in two runs. Smith had an RBI single.
Yates Center goes to Neodesha Monday for TVL action.