Panthers spoil William Chrisman's season opener with timely hitting
The William Chrisman High School baseball team was two outs away from a probable win on the opening day of the Raytown Schools Tournament and the season.
That was a fact that Bears coach Miles Shelton shared with his team following a 5-2 loss to Oak Grove Monday afternoon at Raytown High School.
Oak Grove's Cole Chaney and Jude Greaves collected two-out RBI doubles in the fourth inning, and Panthers starting pitcher Carson Smith had an RBI single and Colton Kinzler added a two-out, two-run double in the fifth to account for the Panthers’ scoring total.
"We just addressed that with the team," Shelton said after the Bears dropped their first game of the young season. "A strike here and there, another two outs — who knows — those are the little things that help you win games. I was very proud of the way our guys played until the last out."
The Bears scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off Oak Grove reliever Greaves.
Andru Campos led off the inning with a double and scored on Cooper Hudson's single.
Alex Johnson then walked and Hudson, who advanced to third base on a wild pitch, scored on Leo Henderson's sacrifice fly.
The Bears had a chance to do some damage off Smith in the first when Antonio Graham led off with a single but was thrown out on a steal attempt at second by Greaves, who caught the first five innings.
Trey Kates then singled but was thrown out at second when a ball was dropped in the outfield. The right fielder recovered to throw out Kates at second base.
"We had a couple of opportunities in the first," Shelton said. "Antonio is so fast, and he can really put the bat on the ball, and I thought we had a good chance of getting that steal. Kates followed with a single, and who knows what might have happened if we had scored.
"I know one thing, after not having a season last year, it just felt great to be back on the field with our guys."
It was Smith's second appearance on the mound this season for the Panthers, who bounced back after dropping two games to Savannah Saturday.
He pitched to contact as he allowed just those two first-inning hits, struck out three and walked just one.
"I pitched two innings Saturday, so today was the most pitches I've thrown this season," said Smith, 1-0. "I was really happy with the way I pitched and the guys did a great job playing defense behind me."
Especially second baseman Shayton Wright, who did a modified slide near second base to keep a line drive off the bat of Haden Long going into center field. He then threw Long out at first while kneeling near the bag.
"That's just like we do it in practice," Wright said. "When a guy is throwing strikes like Carson and pitching a great game, you want to do everything you can to support him defensively."
Oak Grove (2-2) made it 2-0 in the tournament with a 6-1 win over host Raytown late Monday night.
Nick Reeves and Cody Cunningham combined on a two-hitter. Reeves struck out six, walked three and allowed one hit in five innings for the win.
Dalton Chaney was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Haiden Armstrong doubled twice and scored a run for the Panthers, who broke open a tight game with five runs in the fifth inning.