Chrisman's well-rested Trey Kates puts Falcons to sleep
Trey Kates slept like a baby Wednesday night even though he was going to take the mound for William Chrisman the next day at Kauffman Stadium.
Chances are the sophomore lefty will have a good night's sleep on Thursday after throwing six innings, allowing one unearned run, striking out nine and allowing just three hits in a 3-1 victory over the rival Van Horn Falcons.
And for good measure, he drove in the two go-ahead runs with a double in the top of the seventh inning.
"I was excited about today's game," the soft-spoken Kates said, "and it's funny you should ask how I slept because I went right to sleep. I wasn't nervous or anxious. I just wanted to get out on a mound I've watched playoffs and World Series games played on."
While Kates talks about his Bears teammates as members of his family, he got to share the special win with his father Jake, the Bears’ basketball head coach and assistant baseball coach, who was coaching first when his son hit the double in the seventh inning.
Haden Long and Alex Johnson set the stage for Trey with walks and advanced to second and third on Antonio Graham’s sacrifice bunt.
"That double doesn't mean a lot unless Haden and Alex walk and Antonio lays down that perfect sacrifice bunt to get them to second and third," Jake said. "The minute Trey hit that double I knew it was down. As a coach I'm thrilled with the way he pitched and hit, the way we did the little things to win the game and the simple fact that we beat a good Van Horn pitcher (Kobe Messick).
"As a dad, this is something we can talk about forever. We can talk about it with his kids, our grandkids, we can talk about it every time we come to The K. It's one of those lifetime memories and I'm proud of him."
Kates was cruising along with a no-hitter through three innings when Kaleb Johnson hit a high pop fly on the infield that dropped between two fielders, rolling into the outfield.
An alert Johnson sprinted to second base, where he was stranded as Kates retired the next three hitters.
The Falcons’ lone run came in the bottom of the fifth inning on an infield error, a single and a Hunter Bass infield out that drove home Cooper Sumpter.
Kates never showed any animosity or emotion when one of his teammates made an error in the brisk wind that blew the ball all around the infield.
"Trey showed a lot of maturity out there. He proved what kind of player he is and teammates he is," Chrisman coach Miles Shelton said after the Bears improved to 6-13-1. "He's a young kid who has done a great job this season and will continue to be a great pitcher and hitter the next three years."
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. It was the product of small ball as Long walked, Johnson reached first on a bunt single, Graham sacrificed them to second and third and Kona Hudson drove the ball to short, allowing Long to score.
Kates' double in the seventh nearly rolled to the warning track as his two teammates scored.
"This was a great game," Van Horn coach Jay Kolster said. "I was so proud of Kobe because he pitched well enough to win and did a great job out on the mound. We had our opportunities, but Trey made sure we didn't get any more runs home than that first one.
"He's just a sophomore and he pitches like a veteran. And he got the big hit today when they needed it. He and the Bears did a great job today."
Andru Campos earned the save for the Bears with a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning.
The game helped make a lifelong dream come true for Messick and his younger brother, sophomore third baseman Korey.
Kobe is a senior and last season he hoped to share the field with Korey, who was a sophomore, but COVID-19 wiped out the spring season and all activities.
"Of course I wish we would have won today," said Kobe, who recently helped chair a blood drive at Van Horn where 40 teachers, administrators or students donated blood. "But it was a dream come true to play at The K with Korey. That's something we have talked about forever.
"It was a great game, and really I still can't believe I was able to pitch a complete game on a big league mound at a stadium where I have watched Major League Baseball since I was a little kid. This is something that one day I can talk to my kids about, and they can talk to their kids about – it's just that special."