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Bobcats Walk off; Split Series

Mar 05, 2023

#22 Tyler Buchanan

The College of the Ozarks Bobcats returned to the diamond after an intense weekend of games the week before. Having come off a series in which the Bobcats took three of four games from York University, and played multiple extra inning contests, a regular seven inning game might seem anti-climactic. The Bobcats were set to host Waldorf University and the weekend series would have its own dramatic moments.

C of O vs Waldorf University - Saturday, March 4 – Game 1
With Rhett Hill on the bump, the Warriors took the early lead with a double and a single in the opening frame. The Bobcats wasted very little time responding and used a Caleb Johnson single, A Ryan Daggs two-run homer, a Rhett Hill single, and an RBI single by Andrew Hert to go up 3-1. The offense for both teams was quiet with a Chuck Hill single in the second and a Daggs single in the third being all the Bobcat offense. The Warriors erupted in the top of the fourth, pushing three runs across to regain the lead, 4-3. The Bobcats went down in order in the fourth and the Warriors added more pressure with another run in the top of the fifth. Still no Bobcat offense in the bottom of the fifth and time began to be the enemy. Another WU run in the top of the sixth backed the Bobcats into a corner. With Weston Whiteside and Devin McCullough teaming up with Hill, the Warriors were held to six runs, but the Bobcats needed to respond. The bats remained silent in the sixth, but an Aaron Fisher single gave the Cats some life in the top of the seventh. A stolen base put Fisher in scoring position, but the Bobcats were unable to drive him in and game one went to the Warriors 6-3.

Ryan Daggs led the Bobcat offense with a single and a two-run blast. Caleb Johnson, Rhett Hill, Andrew Hert (RBI), and Chuck Hill had one hit each in the effort.

C of O vs Waldorf University - Saturday, March 4 – Game 2
The Bobcats sent Tyler Buchanan to the mound to try and even the series in game two. Buchanan made a statement early by setting the warriors down in order and striking out the side. The Bobcat offense also appeared ready to make a statement and got going in the bottom of the first. Chuck Hill walked, and Caleb Johnson was hit by a pitch. Ryan Daggs added to his RBI total with a single to give the Bobcats the early lead. With runners at the corners, a double steal cost the Bobcats a runner at second, but the runner from third was able to cross extending the lead to 2-0. WU threatened in the second with a pair of singles, and a walk. An error allowed a run to cross and the Bobcat lead was cut in half, 2-1. Aaron Fisher and Ty Rush singled in the second, but that was all the offense for the Bobcats and Buchanan threw up another zero in the third with three more k’s to his credit. The Bobcats continued to apply pressure at the plate as a Caleb Johnson single was followed by a stolen base and a wild pitch to add a run. A Rhett Hill single was followed by a walk to Aaron Fisher and an RBI double off the bat of Seth Stamps gave the Bobcats a 4-1 lead moving to the fourth. Buchanan pitched around a single in the top of the inning and the Bobcats turned it on again in the bottom half. A two-out Caleb Johnson triple was followed by an RBI double off the bat of Daggs, and the Bobcat lead was extended to 5-1. Buchanan slammed the door shut again in the Warriors fifth with three straight strikeouts. The Bobcats also went quietly in the fifth and time was running out for the Warriors. Buchanan continued to cruise and a fly out with a pair of strikeouts brought the Bobcats back to the plate. Everyone needs a little insurance and the Bobcats were looking to add to their 5-1 lead. Tyas Rush was hit by a pitch to start the offense and moved to third on an error. Chuck Hill ripped an RBI double to drive in Rush and Daggs followed with a double to drive in Hill. The next out retired the Cats, but the lead was 7-1 heading to the seventh. Buchanan returned to the mound looking for a complete game win. A pair of groundouts, a single, and a pop out was the extent of the Warrior threat and Buchanan had accomplished the task.

Buchanan’s seven innings with 13 strikeouts, four hits, and one walk earned him the win, but also garnered NCCAA Pitcher of the week honors.

Ryan Daggs’ two doubles, a single, and three RBI’s led the way for the Bobcats. Caleb Johnson turned in a two-hit performance with a triple and single. Chuck Hill (2B), Rhett Hill, Aaron Fisher, Seth Stamps, and Tyas Rush each added a hit in the win.

C of O vs Waldorf University - Sunday, March 5 – Game 3
Riding the momentum of Tyler Buchanan’s gem the day before, the Bobcats were looking to continue the trend against Waldorf.

Colin Pyatt went to the hill and took care of the Warriors in the opening frame. The Bobcats picked up a Chuck Hill single in their half but were unable to move him around. The second inning was a carbon copy of the first with a quick defensive inning and a stranded single off the bat of Aaron Fisher. The third inning quickly became a different story. Pyatt hit a rough patch and the Warriors scored five runs to put the Bobcats in a hole. Pyatt battled through and closed the door on the inning. The Bobcats needed to respond and an error by the Warrior shortstop opened the door. Caleb Johnson reached on the error and Rhett Hill followed with a single. Aaron Fisher muscled up for his first homerun and drove in three runs to make it 5-3. The Bobcats were retired and the game moved to the fourth inning. The Warriors were determined to provide an answer to the Bobcat offense and three runs later, the Bobcats were back in their five-run hole. Joe Lee came on to pitch and secured the final out. Neither team produced more offense into the sixth inning. Logan Daniels reached with a single in the sixth but that was all the Bobcats could manage. Waldorf added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, setting up the need for a dramatic comeback for the Bobcats to salvage the game. There was hope in the seventh when Blake Hultgren walked and Chuck Hill singled. A pair of strikeouts had the Bobcats on the ropes when Rhett Hill delivered a blast over the left field fence to drive in three. Spencer Greene went back-to-back with a solo shot and the Bobcats cut the gap to 9-7. Unfortunately, the next Bobcat batter was retired and the game ended with the Warriors securing the 9-7 win.

Chuck Hill, Rhett Hill (HR), and Aaron Fisher (HR) each had a pair of hits and Spencer Greene (HR), and Logan Daniels added the only other Bobcat hits.

C of O vs Waldorf University - Sunday, March 5 – Game 4
The Bobcats would need to bounce back quickly if they were going to salvage the split in the series. With Brody Baumann getting the pitching assignment, the first task would be to thwart the warrior momentum.

Waldorf had a different plan, and scored an early run to continue their quest for back-to-back wins. The Bobcat bats were silent in the early going and things were not looking good. The one-run deficit felt as though it could have been 10. Another Warrior run in the third put the Bobcats in a seemingly large hole. A one-out single off the bat of Cadan Kauffman gave the Bobcats a little spark in the bottom of the third and Chuck Hill followed with a two out single. Unable to get the timely hit, the Bobcat threat came up empty. Another Waldorf run in the top of the fourth added to the Bobcat struggle and they now trailed 3-0. Trey Riley singled in the bottom of the inning, but the string of hits the Bobcats needed was not to be found. The Warriors added another run in the top of the fifth and the four-run gap seemed insurmountable, especially after another short inning at the plate. Kole Jenks came on in relief with one out in the sixth and the Warriors were kept off the board. The Bobcats were down to their final six outs and desperately needed to get the offense going. Spencer Greene obliged with a leadoff single and Rhett Hill walked to keep the line moving. Caleb Johnson followed with a one-out walk and the Bobcats had something going. A wild pitch scored a run and put the other two runners in scoring position. With the Bobcats finally on the board, there was new life in the dugout. Tyas Rush used the new-found energy and ripped a two-RBI single to cut the gap to 4-3. The next two Bobcats were retired, and the game moved to the final inning. With the momentum shift of the sixth inning, the coaching staff believed a comeback win was in the cards, if they could hold the Warriors in the seventh. The Bobcat closer, Ryan Daggs, was called on to handle the task. As requested, three straight strikeouts brought the Bobcats to the plate and there was a totally different feel than the first five innings. The Bobcats had found confidence and life. Coming to the plate with a little more swagger, the Bobcat offense started with a Chuck Hill walk. Ryan Daggs followed with a single to put runners at the corners. A ground ball off the bat of Spencer Greene put the runner at third in a rundown, and he was eventually tagged out trying to score. While the momentum was hindered a little, the Bobcats still believed they could score. With Daggs moving to third during the rundown, a wild pitch sent him scampering across the plate and the score was tied, 4-4. Greene, who had reached on the fielder’s choice moved the third and the winning run was just 90 feet away. Rhett Hill stepped to the plate, and like he was just waiting for this moment, ripped a single to right to score Greene and give the Bobcats the walk-off win, 5-4.

The Bobcats used small ball to win the contest as there were no extra-base hits. Spencer Greene logged a pair of hits while Chuck Hill, Ryan Daggs, Trey Riley, Tyas Rush, and Caden Kauffman recorded one hit each.

The Bobcats were back in action Tuesday, when they hosted William Woods University in a single, nine-inning game.