One big inning set the stage for Fort Osage senior Sam Carlson’s first high school shutout.

It was a dramatic first inning that featured small ball, big hits, defensive gems and the strong arm of catcher Michael Buckingham.

The Indians improved to 3-0 in Suburban Middle Seven Conference play with a 3-0 victory Tuesday afternoon at home as Carlson kept the Hornets at bay, and let his defense take control, while tossing a shutout. He did not record a strikeout – but walked just one batter.

Northtown’s Brock McLaughlin opened the game with a single and tried to steal, but was quickly gunned down at second base by Buckingham, who is sharing catching duties with Darren Horning.

Austin Creekmore followed with a second single, and was forced at second on a slick fielding play by Fort Osage shortstop Jaden Melissinas. 

So, instead of two runners on with no outs, the Hornets had a runner on first with two outs – and he was also thrown out trying to steal second base by Buckingham, who shared center stage with his batterymate.

“I was so happy when Michael threw out the first base runner,” Carlson said, “then, when he threw out that second runner. I was out there celebrating. I think his two throws got everyone excited and helped us score those three runs in the bottom of the first inning.”

The Indians’ Ethan Gotch led off the bottom of the inning with a single and advanced to third on a fly ball and stolen base. He then stole home on a double steal, that saw Logan Phillips steal second.

Von Young, the all-state linebacker who usually puts a big hit on a quarterback, then put a big hit on a Grant Lorenzen fastball, as his triple scored Phillips.

Young then scored on a wild pitch, and that was all the scoring for both teams for the remainder of the game.

“Sam was really on tonight, and it was so much fun catching him,” Buckingham said. “We just went basically with fastballs and our defense played great. It’s our third conference win in a row and we’re all really excited.”

The 4-5 Indians have topped Ruskin, Oak Park and the Hornets in conference play.

“We don’t have a great overall record, but we’ve really played well in our last three games,” Carlson said. “I think you could probably tell by watching us today that we’re a really close team. We were all so excited for Michael and the great game he had and Von got that triple in the first inning. We’re getting better each time we go out, and that’s what we want to do the rest of the season.”

The prediction sounds great to first year head coach Todd Bissell.

“Sam doesn’t throw real hard, but he was really on today -– hitting his spots – and Michael did a great job behind the plate,” Bissell said. “This was a good win over a good North Kansas City team.

“At 3-0, it’s really anyone’s game, but our kids wouldn’t let them get back in it.”

That’s a philosophy Young has witnessed the past three years with the Fort Osage football team that made it to the Class 5 state championship in 2018.

“Hitting a ball, hitting a quarterback, I like to hit both of them,” Young said, smiling. “I haven’t been hitting the ball that well, and that hit really felt good. And I’m so happy for Sam and Michael – they really got it done today.”