Local Sports

May 29, 2014

Kings bounce Squires

Cass advances to sectional semifinal with lopsided win

WALTON — Making it look easy, the Lewis Cass Kings moved on in sectional play as they dominated the Manchester Squires 12-1 Wednesday in the opening round of the Cass sectional.

The Kings (16-6) were aggressive at the plate, on the bases, and in the field to advance to Saturday’s semifinal game against Southwood (18-7).

Josh Rankert got the start on the mound for the Kings and the big junior turned in a more than impressive performance. Rankert went the distance for his team and gave up just five scattered hits over the course of the game while striking out nine Manchester batters and giving up zero walks.

“As a pitcher you always want to try and get ahead of the hitters and get them out on the least number of pitches possible,” Rankert said. “I got a few strikeouts but I was wanting to get them to pop up or put it on the ground for the defense to go to work. They’ve been solid for me all year.”

Cass wasted no time in setting the tone of the game when leadoff hitter Ryan Bixler blasted a triple to the alley to start the game.  Bixler then scored on a base hit from Jake Wilburn. Moments later Wilburn crossed the plate on a hit from Jake Miller. After setting the Squires (2-20) down in order the Kings took a 2-0 lead after one complete.

The Kings led off the second with two base hits from Noah Byers and Brandon Carden.  While Carden was at the plate Byers was thrown out trying to steal second. Carden worked his way around to third and eventually scored on a passed ball by the Squires.  Manchester threatened in their half of the inning but the Kings defense ended the threat and Cass was up 3-0 after two.

The offense went to work again in the third when Wilburn hit a gapper for a double. He then took third on a passed ball. With one out Kyle Dwiggins was hit by a pitch and that put runners on the corners for Ty Stover. Stover grounded out second to first for the second out of the inning but scored Wilburn in the process. Another base hit by Byers then scored Dwiggins to make it 5-0. In the bottom half of the third the Squires again went down in order.

The Kings went down quietly in the fourth and fifth innings. In the bottom half of the fifth Manchester  was able to get on the board behind a leadoff double by Evan Milam. Phoenix Goad the came to the plate and scored Milam with a base hit. Rankert then retired the next three batters, two by strikeouts to make it 5-1 after five complete.

Cass then had its offense really got going in the sixth and seventh innings. The Kings plated four runs in the sixth on hits from Miller, Dwiggins, Stover and Carden. They plated three more runs in the seventh behind Conner Price, Wilburn and Stover.

The Kings defense did their jobs solidly in the last two innings not allowing a Squire runner past second base in going on to the 12-1 win.

“Once the weather warmed up and it became baseball weather Josh has been throwing much better,” Cass coach Greg Marschand said. “He struggled early in the season and didn’t pitch particularly well but his last three outings have been complete games and then we brought him in against Central Catholic for three innings and he shut them down. It’s nice that he’s come back and with him and Wilburn in there we hope to move on down the tourney road.”

Lewis Cass pounded out 16 hits during the game. Price had a base hit while Wilburn, Miller and Carden each had two base hits in the game.  Stover and Byers finished with three base hits. Wilburn and Dwiggins each had a double while Bixler finished with a triple.

Cass will try to avenge an earlier loss at 2 p.m. Saturday in a semifinal game. Wabash will play Oak Hill at 11 a.m. Saturday. The final is at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

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