Fort Osage continues recent surge with rout of Chrisman

Cody Thorn
The Examiner

After a rough start to the year, Fort Osage is starting to turn things around a bit.

The Indians opened the Northland Tournament with a 9-3 victory over William Chrisman at Chrisman High School.

Fort Osage has won four of the past five after a 0-5 start and got a stellar effort from junior right-hander Xander Jones.

He threw six innings of shutout ball and gave up only two hits in his longest outing this year. He was pulled early by coach Todd Bissell in case the Indians (4-6) need him later in the tournament as it is possible for the team to play five games in five days.

“My fastball was getting in the zone; I was finding the zone unlike previous starts,” Jones said. “I had good off-speed pitches … My curve was good and my defense was making plays behind me. I’m proud of how I pitched.”

In his previous starts he lasted three innings against Pleasant Hill and one inning against state-ranked Park Hill South.

Before he even took the mound against the Bears (1-7-1) the Indians gave their starter a 3-0 lead. Three straight singles to open the game – from Zachary Tillman, Nick Tinoco and Nathan Oakes – led to sacrifice flies from Riley Christiansen and Jacob Hasty and an RBI double by Greg Menne.

Jones walked the first batter he faced but the side was retired after only three batters thanks to a caught stealing. In the second inning, he worked around an error and a hit by pitch to get the next three out in order.

Both of the hits he issued came in the fourth inning – a two-out single to Trey Kates followed by an Andru Campos double. Jones coaxed a fly ball to escape another scoring threat.

“I thought we didn’t have a plan or approach at the plate,” Chrisman coach Miles Shelton Jr. said. “Some guys made adjustments and some guys didn’t. (Jones) was throwing fastballs and curveballs and mixing them. That is how you get hitting teams out. He did good.”

Chrisman added two more runs in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Oakes and Hasty’s second RBI, this time on a single.

The final inning features seven runs, starting with Fort Osage taking a 9-0 lead. Hasty added his third RBI on a single, while Oakes provided the Indians with a third sacrifice fly. Chase Stumfall’s two-run single capped the scoring for Fort Osage – the only multiple-run hit in the contest.

“We started well in the first inning but we couldn’t follow it up in the second or third but we put runners on bases,” Bissell said. “Our base running had been terrible the last few games. We had a guy picked off today and another thrown out trying to advance. We are learning. We’ve got a lot of young guys … I want to say we are learning, but we keep making the same mistakes.”

Chrisman, which fell to 1-21 against Fort Osage dating back to 2009, scored all of its runs in the final innings. A hit by pitch and two walks set up back-to-back RBI groundouts from Antonio Graham and Kona Hudson. A hit by pitch re-loaded the bases before Campos’ single to left field brought home the final run. The game ended with a groundout as the Bears had the bases loaded.