Salina South, Andover baseball split doubleheader

Dylan Sherwood
Salina Journal
Salina South outfielder Kyren Whitaker (30) looks up for the ball during game one of Friday's doubleheader with Andover at Dean Evans Stadium.

Salina South coach Kris Meis and Andover coach Chris Weidert can take things away from Friday's doubleheader at Dean Evans Stadium. 

The Cougars, who were playing in their first games of the 2021 campaign were trying to find who they are, while the Trojans were playing their second series of the year after splitting with Dodge City last Saturday.

South (1-1) needed to rally from a 6-2 deficit to take an 11-9 victory in the opener, while Andover (2-2) used a 7-run first inning in the nightcap to take a 12-6 victory.

"I thought the first game, we played well, we just didn't come out with energy and finish innings like we should have," Weidert said. "We make a couple of mental mistakes. I thought game two, we were locked in. Everybody 1-9 (had) a lot more energy, even the dugout was up (and) made a difference overall in the game execution."

More:Bethany volleyball ends Kansas Wesleyan's season in four sets in Kansas Conference quarterfinals

South has a completely new roster with guys having has no previous varsity experience. Meis said the Cougars just enjoy playing the game no matter who's making an impact.

"We've got a lot of young guys and guys getting their first varsity at-bats, hits, and everything," Meis said. "Once the game kind of slowed down for them, they got more comfortable at the plate and things just went our way.

"They just bond. They just keep fighting. We've seen that at practice over the last month and we saw that again tonight." 

Knowing what the Cougars had to work with, it was a sigh of relief to see what their strengths and weaknesses are early in the season and what they need to continue to improve on.

"I learned that defensively, I knew we were going to be pretty good," Meis said. "We had little concerns offensively, and I think that was answered tonight. I think if we can get our (pitching) staff throwing strikes and being consistent, we'll be there in the end."

South rallies in opener 

Both teams got a run in the first inning. Andover got an RBI single by Brandon Klusener, which was answered by an RBI double by Parker Benoit. 

South took a 2-1 lead through two after Garrett Aills had an RBI single.

Then Andover took over with five runs in the third to take a 6-2 advantage. The Trojans batted 10 in the inning with including four singles and two doubles and capitalizing on a Cougar error. 

More:Kansas Wesleyan's Jhalen Haynes transitioning well to linebacker

South then got to Andover pitcher Albright in the fourth where it knotted the game at six. The Cougars got a 2-run single by Kyren Whitaker, an RBI groundout from Owen Bulleigh and Weston Fries' RBI single to tie the game.

Andover regained the lead in the fifth, but with one swing of the bat, Benoit knotted things back up at seven. South still wasn't finished in the inning. Aills drove in a run on a bases-loaded walk and Kaden Budke scored on a fielder's choice.

Budke came in relief of Jovan Suarez in the fourth inning and gave the Cougars two solid innings, allowing one run on two hits and recording two strikeouts, earning him the win. It was Budke's debut in a varsity game as a freshman. 

"Kaden came in and threw well, and did a nice job of when we needed him to shut the water off," Meis said. 

Salina South pitcher Kaden Budke (5) throws a pitch during the fourth inning of the double-header against Andover at Dean Evans Stadium on Friday.

Fries closed the door on the Trojans, throwing the final two innings for the save.

Salina South shortstop Weston Fries (8) fields a ball during game one of Friday's doubleheader with Andover at Dean Evans Stadium.

Trojans use strong first to salvage split

Andover shortstop Brody Kasel (8) catches the groundball and throws to first base to try to get the batter out during the second inning of the first game of the doubleheader at Dean Evans Stadium on Friday.

Andover found a way to get South's Zach Davidson out of the game early.

The Cougar junior only faced five batters and gave up six runs before Seth Clemmer came in relief

"Zach missed on a couple of pitches," Meis said. "For us to give up seven runs in the first inning, I was proud with the way we battled back." 

"Seth did a great job and he shut them down when we needed to shut them down." 

Clemmer retired nine straight Trojans after they held a 7-0 lead. South got a run back in the second with Whitaker scoring on a balk. 

Andover got two more in the fifth on a single by Klusener, but South made it 9-3 on a 2-run single by Whitaker.

The Trojans put the finishing touches with a 3-run double by Collin Gallaway.

Despite being down nine runs with three outs left, the Cougars got three back scoring on a pair of Andover errors and a sacrifice fly from Whitaker. 

Andover got five strong innings out of Connor Leu, who went five innings before Will Johnson threw the final two innings. 

"He did an outstanding job in his first start and he followed it up with another great start," Weidert said. "It looks like he's nailing down our number one spot for us. I'm looking forward to seeing him every five days." 

Salina South’s Jarrett Pittenger (13) slides back to first base in the second inning of the first game of the doubleheader against Andover at Dean Evans Stadium on Friday.

SALINA SOUTH 11, ANDOVER 9

Andover;105;010;2;—;9;11;0

Salina South;110;432;x—;11;10;2

WP—Budke. LP—Albright. SV—Fries. 2B—A: Pierce, Ngo, Gallaway. SS: Benoit. 3B—SS: Whitaker. HR—SS: Benoit, Barber.

ANDOVER 12, SALINA SOUTH 6

Andover;700;203;0;—;12;10;4

Salina South;010;200;3;—;6;5;2

WP—Leu. LP—Davidson. 2B—A: Ngo, Gallaway (2), Pierce.