After a successful 2016 season, expectations were high for the 2017 El Dorado baseball team. The Wildcats lost their first four games this season, getting swept by Wellington and Buhler, the defending state champions. It is common to hear fans say that a team is better than their record, and El Dorado is undoubtedly one of those teams, and in a sport like baseball teams should not be judged by their record this early in the season.
El Dorado was able to record their first victory of the season on Monday as Rose Hill came to McDonald Stadium in El Dorado. The Wildcats held off the Rockets in game 1, wining 6-5. Rose Hill came back and won the second game 5-3 as the teams split the series.
In game one, the sun was shining and it finally felt like baseball weather, as the temperature was in the mid 60’s. Ridge Towner started game one on the mound for the Wildcats. Rose Hill started off the game with a lead off single. In the next at bat, the runner advance to second base on a passed ball, and then to third on another passed ball. Rose Hill’s second batter then lined out to the El Dorado shortstop Dacota Motter, who threw him out at first, but the Rose Hill baserunner reached home to give the Rockets an early lead. After a triple and another single, the Rockets led by two.
El Dorado responded well in their first chance at the plate. After El Dorado’s first two batters popped out and grounded out, Cade Morrow hit a single through the left side of the infield and Trevor Burnett reached first with a hit to shallow center in the next at bat. Ridge Towner gave the Wildcats their third straight hit as he tripled to right-center field to score Morrow and Burnett and tie the game at two.
Ridge Towner retired the side in the second inning thanks to a diving catch in the outfield by Kaden Clites. El Dorado added two more in the bottom of the second as Nate Jacobs singled and then stole second base. Dacota Morrow singled in the next at bat and then also stole second to put runners on second and third with two outs. Tyler Michaelis took a swing with two strikes and made contact with the catchers glove. The umpire declared it catcher interference and Michaelis advanced to first. Because of the violation, Jacobs scored from third and Motter was given third base. Motter later reached home when a pitch got away from the catcher and Motter was able to sprint home in time to score and give El Dorado the 4-2 lead.
Rose Hill put up three runs in the third inning to reclaim the lead, scoring all three runs with two outs. After a scoreless fourth inning in which Towner again retired the side in order, El Dorado trailed 5-4. In the bottom of the fifth, the Wildcats reclaimed the lead after Trevor Burnett reached home on a triple, followed by a single by Jarin Koehler that would bring home the winning run.
Both defenses were solid in the final two innings, as neither team recorded a run in the sixth and El Dorado’s Evan Dean came into the game in the seventh inning to close the game for the Wildcats and seal their first victory of 2017. Ridge Towner earned the win for the Wildcats, pitching six innings.
In game two, Rose Hill matched their run total in game one, but El Dorado could not not manage to find the same offense as they did in the first game. El Dorado out-hit the Rockets seven to four, but were unable to put up runs. Rose Hill pitcher Griffin McBride pitched a complete game and only allowed three runs while striking out eight. Chase Veatch and Nate Jacobs each had two hits for the Wildcats in game two.
El Dorado will travel to Mulvane on Monday, April 17, still looking for their first series sweep of the season.