Neither rain nor bouts of wind nor chilly Friday afternoon temperatures could prevent Cody Oliphant from delivering his pitches – or from retiring batters.
The Fort Osage senior dealt with the elements by throwing a complete game in a 4-1 Suburban Middle Seven baseball win at William Chrisman, striking out eight, scattering six hits, plunking two batters and walking one. He had a shutout going through 4 2/3 innings.
“It wasn’t too bad,” Oliphant said of the weather.
Oliphant was pleased with his outing.
“My main goals were to just keep the ball down and not give up any earned runs,” he said.
Fort Osage coach Chris Walker was pleased, too.
“He threw a lot of ground balls and got the key strikeouts when he needed them,” Walker said. “I thought he pitched a great game. Not only did he have good stuff working, but he was also smart about where he threw it.”
The outing was in keeping how Oliphant has pitched this season, Walker said.
“He’s been throwing solid all year,” Walker said. “He came into today with a 1.0 ERA.”
Junior starting pitcher Will Fisher took the loss for Chrisman (8-10, 1-6), yielding all four runs in his two innings. Senior Eli Henderson struck out five in his five relief innings. Henderson also plunked one batter and allowed only one hit – a fifth-inning double to Spencer Patrick.
Bears coach Tom Campa had hoped to rest Henderson for Chrisman’s doubleheader on Saturday with Truman, which was later postponed. However, Fisher had trouble with his control early, so the switch was made, Campa said.
“Eli did a tremendous job,” he said.
In general, though, Chrisman’s pitching must improve, Campa said.
“When we’re out there on the mound, we’ve got to attack and we’ve got to throw strikes,” he said.
Offensively, Fort Osage (9-10) attacked Chrisman by posting two first-inning runs. Kobie Owens scored on Andru Baxley’s two-out RBI single and Payton Toliver scored on Zane Barr’s single in the second to finish Fort Osage’s scoring.
“We came out and jumped on them early and then kind of got a little lax,” Walker said. “We started swinging at some pitches that maybe we shouldn’t have swung at, but I was glad to get the early lead and try to get it to five (innings). That was our goal was to try to get it to five innings – and then if it got bad, we’d get the game in.”
Indeed, the U.S. 24 rivals reached the fifth inning, when Chrisman got its lone run. And with it counting as an official game, they played the last two innings. Oliphant pitched a 1-2-3 seventh as the rain fell to finish it.