Coming off a 2-2 record at the Southwestern Christian University tri-match last weekend, the College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats returned home to host York University in a weekend series. The Bobcats and Panthers used to frequent the diamond as members of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, but have not faced each other in the recent past.
C of O vs York University – Friday, February 24 – Game 1
The game started as a pitcher’s duel with neither team having success at the plate. With Rhett Hill on the mound for the Bobcats, the Panthers were kept off balance and singles in the first and fourth innings was the extent of their offense. The Bobcat success was only slightly better, with a Caleb Johnson single in the second, and a double off the bat of Spencer Greene in the fourth. Neither team could come up with the big hit and the scoreless battle continued. The Panthers picked up a pair of singles in the sixth, but Hill pitched out of the jam to keep York off the board. Spencer Greene pitched the seventh for the Bobcats and kept the trend going. A Rhett Hill single in the seventh gave the Bobcats a chance for the walk-off win, but the Panther pitcher closed the door. The game moved to extra innings and the pitcher’s duel continued. Ryan Daggs came on in relief and promptly struck out the side in the top of the eighth. The Bobcats went quietly in their half and Daggs disposed of the Panthers quickly in the ninth. Daggs led off the bottom of the ninth and with one swing of the bat, gave the Bobcats the win. A deep drive to left sailed over the fence and the celebration at home plate began. The Bobcats took the contest 1-0 and Ryan Daggs recorded the win on the mound, and at the plate.
The Bobcats had four hits with Ryan Daggs recording the decisive blow with his homerun. Spencer Greene (2B), Rhett Hill, and Caleb Johnson had the other hits in the win.
C of O vs York University – Friday, February 24 – Game 2
After the dramatic finish in game one, the Bobcats were looking to carry the momentum over to game two. Tyler Buchanan went to the bump for the Bobcats and the Panthers took their zero off the board in a hurry. A solo homerun over the left field fence gave the Panthers the 1-0 lead, with the Bobcats coming up. Three walks in the bottom of the first were left stranded and the Bobcats were unable to answer the Panther run. The Bobcat bats remained silent in the second, but the Panthers put three on the board in the third to extend their lead to 4-0. Weston Whiteside came on to pitch, and closed the door on the Panthers. Caleb Johnson put the Bobcats on the board in the bottom half of the third with a shot over the left field fence, and Ryan Daggs followed with another homerun of his own to cut the gap to 4-2. Spencer Greene made it back-to-back-to-back jacks and the deficit was cut to 4-3. A Trey Riley walk was followed by a single and a two-base error off the bat of Rhett Hill. Riley scored to tie the score before Hill was thrown out trying to score on a passed ball. Singles by Titus Atkins and Caden Kauffman were left stranded, and it was a new ballgame heading to the fourth inning. With the score tied 4-4, Whiteside retired the Panthers in the fourth and the Bobcats started their half with consecutive singles by Johnson, Daggs, and Greene. The Bobcats scored a run off of a Trey Riley sacrifice fly, but that was all the Bobcats could get. The Panthers answered with a homerun in the top of the fifth and Spencer Greene came on in relief to get the final out of the inning. The game was deadlocked again, 5-5 heading to the sixth inning. Neither team scored in the sixth, or the seventh, and extra innings was a reality for the second straight game. Green pitched out of a two-out, bases loaded jam, and the Bobcats came up in the bottom of the eighth. An Aaron Fisher single was left stranded and Daggs came on to pitch the ninth. A quick three outs brought the Bobcats up, but a Spencer Greene single was all the offense in the bottom half. Daggs pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the 10th, and the Bobcats came in to try and end it with a run. No such luck for the Bobcats and the game progressed through the 11th and into the 12th. The Panthers took the lead in the top half of the inning and the Bobcats had their backs to the wall. A walk, a sacrifice, and a single by Cadan Kauffman, put runners on the corners with one out. An RBI single by Aaron Fisher tied the score and Tyas Rush followed with an RBI single to send the Bobcats to their second straight walk off win.
Spencer Greene (HR) led the offense with four hits in five at bats. Aaron Fisher (3), Caleb Johnson (2, HR), and Ryan Daggs (2, HR) also turned in multi-hit performances. Rhett Hill, Titus Atkins, and Tyas Rush rounded out the offense with one hit each.
C of O vs York University – Saturday, February 25 – Game 3
After two dramatic wins the day before, the Bobcats returned to the diamond on Saturday, with Colin Pyatt getting the nod on the mound. York brought their bats to life in the first game and put the Bobcats in an early hole, 2-0. A Ryan Daggs single would be the extent of the Bobcat offense in the first and York added another tally in the second. The Bobcats came to life in the bottom of the second with a Rhett Hill homerun, singles by Aaron Fisher and Chuck Hill, and a double steal that brought a run across. Seth Stamps doubled in the inning, but the Bobcats were limited to their two runs. York exploded to put four runs on the board in the third. Joe Lee came on to pitch in relief and the Bobcats had an uphill battle ahead. Caleb Johnson homered to start the Bobcat third and Spencer Greene walked ahead of another Rhett Hill bomb. The gap was cut to 7-5, but the Panthers were still in control. Kole Jenks came out of the pen and took care of the Panthers in the fourth, but the Bobcat bats were silent as well. Jenks continued to hold the Panthers in check through the fifth, and the bottom half saw the Bobcat offense erupt again. Rhett Hill continued his monster game with a double to lead off the inning and Aaron Fisher walked. Chuck Hill ripped an RBI double and Seth Stamps did the same for two RBI’s. Tyas Rush followed with a single to drive in a run and Caleb Johnson singled before the final out was recorded. The Bobcats scored four runs on five hits and took a 9-7 lead to the sixth. The Panthers added a run in the top of the sixth and the Bobcats went down quietly in their half. Jenks recorded a strikeout before York hit a pair of singles. Tyler Buchanan came on to pitch and slammed the door to secure the 9-8 win.
Rhett Hill led the offense with a pair of homeruns and a double. Caleb Johnson (2B, HR), Chuck Hill (2B), and Seth Stamps (2B-2) added a pair of hits each and Ryan Daggs, Aaron Fisher, and Tyas Rush each tacked on a hit.
C of O vs York University – Saturday, February 25 – Game 4
With three highly contested battles in the first three games of the series, the same was expected in game four. The Bobcats had prevailed in the first three games, but knew those games could have easily gone either way.
The Bobcats sent freshman Brody Baumann to the mound for his second career start. York scored a run in the first to take the early lead, but the Bobcats answered with a Ryan Daggs double and a wild pitch to even the score. The Panthers kept the pressure on by adding another run in the top of the second, but the Bobcat bats came to life in their half. A Caden Kauffman hit by pitch was followed by a Blake Hultgren single and an RBI single off the bat of Logan Daniels. Caleb Johnson singled to load the bases and Ryan Daggs muscled up for a grand slam to give the Bobcats a 6-2 lead. Baumann shut the Panthers down in the third and fourth while the Bobcats added a run in the fourth with a Blake Hultgren triple and a sacrifice fly for an RBI from Logan Daniels. Ryan Daggs singled, but the inning ended with no further damage. Both teams were quiet in the fifth and York came to life in the sixth with four runs to make it 7-6, Bobcats. The Bobcats went down in order in their half of the sixth and the pressure mounted. The Panthers were ready for some late inning heroics of their own and scored a pair of runs to take the lead in the seventh. In the Bobcat seventh, a walk to Andrew Hert was followed by a single off the bat of Caleb Johnson. A wild pitch moved the runners up and Ryan Daggs drew an intentional pass. A double play scored the tying run, before a ground out sent the game to extra innings, for the third time in the series. The York offense exploded in the top of the eighth for seven runs and the Bobcats had their backs to the wall. A pair of walks was all the Bobcats could muster and the Panthers took the series finale, 15-8.
Ryan Daggs led the offense with three hits, including a grand slam and a double. Caleb Johnson and Blake Hultgren (3B) recorded two hits each wile Logan Daniels logged the only other Bobcat hit.
The Bobcats will host Waldorf University this Saturday and Sunday at Coach Bob Smith Field. Games times Saturday are slated for 12:00 and 2:00. Sunday games will be played at 1:00 and 3:00.