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Bobcats Reach Final Four; Fall in Semifinals

May 22, 2024

#24 Hunter Lewis

#15 Rhett Hill

Team Huddle

Kansas City, MO - With the top six teams remaining in the NCCAA World Series, and a trip to the Final Four on the line, the College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats were set to square off in an elimination game with familiar foe, Mission University. 


C of O vs Mission University – Tuesday, May 21
The Bobcats were the visitors on the scoreboard and picked up singles by Ty Rush and Hunter Lewis to get things started. The Cats were not able to move them around and Rhett Hill took the mound for the Bobcats. An out and a walk were registered before a rain and lightning delay changed the scene. Following an hour halt in the action, another pair of walks loaded the bases for the Patriots and an infield single put the first run on the board. The next out was recorded, and the Bobcats came up looking for some offense. A Trey Riley singled led off the second and a Caleb Johnson double followed. With runners at second and third, a Chuck Hill triple gave the Bobcats a 2-1 lead. Charlie Parker picked up an RBI with a groundout to second and that was all the offense for the Bobcats. A one out triple, just out of the reach of a diving Caleb Johnson, gave the Patriots an opportunity to cut into the lead. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Johnson was injured on the play and was questionable to return. A sacrifice fly reduced the lead to 3-2, but Hill limited the damage to a single run. Spencer Greene opened the third inning with a double and the Cats were threatening again. A Hunter Lewis single scored Greene and the Bobcat lead grew to 4-2. Rhett Hill added to the lead with an RBI single and the Bobcats were rolling. A Chuck Hill sacrifice fly added yet another tally and the Bobcats led 6-2 heading to the bottom of the third. Hill pitched around a leadoff walk and a single in the Mission half, and the Bobcats came up looking to add to the lead. A one-out double off the bat of Jake Leeker forced a Mission pitching change and Spencer Greene greeted the new hurler with an infield single. Rhett Hill then muscled up for an opposite field bomb, and the Bobcat lead grew to 9-2. A Trey Riley double followed, but he was stranded, and the game moved to the bottom of the fourth. Hill pitched around a one out double to keep the Patriots in check and the Bobcats came up looking to put the game out of reach. Chuck Hill led off the fifth with an infield single and Charlie Parker moved Hill to third with a single to right. Parker promptly stole second to put runners at second & third with no outs. Ty Rush added an RBI single, and Jake Leeker doubled to add another pair of tallies. The Bobcat lead was 12-2 with no outs. Spencer Greene added another run with an RBI double and the bats were on fire. A walk to Hunter Lewis kept the line moving and a Rhett Hill infield single followed. Titus Atkins drew a walk and Chuck Hill delivered an RBI single. Charlie Parker smashed the decisive blow with a three-run shot over the left field wall and now trailing 18-2, the Patriots went to the bullpen. The final out was recorded on the next batter and the game moved to the bottom of the fifth. A leadoff home run gave the Patriots some life, but they had a lot of ground to make up. The Patriots added a single and a double to score another run, but Hill buckled down and shut down the threat. The Bobcats were not ready to take their foot off the gas and Jake Leeker started the sixth with a single. The Patriots had other plans and they retired the Cats for only the second scoreless inning of the game. Hill went back to work on the mound and the Patriots were limited to a single in the sixth. The Bobcats came up in the seventh looking to add more to their total. A Chuck Hill single was all the offense for the Bobcats in the seventh, and Rhett Hill went back to the bump, just three outs away from the win. The Patriots were determined to keep fighting and a pair of hits added a run to the board. A pop out ended the frame, and the Bobcats took the contest 18-5. The win moved the Cats to the Final Four for the second consecutive year and advanced them to the late semifinal game Tuesday evening. 

Chuck Hill (3B) led the offensive attack with four hits in four at bats and Rhett Hill (HR) and Jake Leeker (2B, 2B) added three hits each. Ty Rush (2B), Spencer Greene (2B, 2B), Hunter Lewis, Trey Riley (2B), and Charlie Parker (HR) each tacked on a pair of hits in the win.

C of O vs Southwestern Christian University (Semifinal) – Tuesday, May 21
After piling on 18 runs in the win against Mission University, the Bobcats were looking to continue riding the momentum and bring the hot bats to the tournament semifinal. The Bobcats were set to square off against future Sooner Athletic Conference foe, Southwestern Christian University.  The Bobcats had taken one of four games in the regular season matchup with the Eagles, so they knew they would have their hands full.

The Bobcats stepped to the plate first and a one-out Ty Rush single started the offense. Rush was thrown out stealing second and a ground out ended the opening frame for C of O. Andrew Dalton picked up the start on the mound for the Bobcats and a quick three up-three down inning took the game to the second. The Bobcats went down in order in the top half of the inning and the Eagles put small ball to work in the bottom half. A pair of walks and two bunt singles spelled trouble for the Bobcats and with the help of a sacrifice bunt, the Eagles put three runs on the board. The Bobcats came up in the third and needed to respond. Unfortunately, a Charlie Parker walk was all the offense the Bobcats could generate. The Eagles wasted no time capitalizing on their newfound momentum. Two doubles and a walk brought Tyler Buchanan in from the bullpen. A pair of singles added tallies to the Eagles’ total and the Bobcats were in a 7-0 hole. The Bobcat bats continued to be silenced in the fourth and another quick inning brought the Eagles back to the plate. A hit by pitch, a single, and a Bobcat miscue added a run for the Eagles and Garyn Hall came in to pitch in relief. Hall shut down the Eagle offense and the Bobcats came to the plate looking for answers. A Hunter Lewis single gave a glimmer of optimism, but a double play and a ground out sent the Cats back to the field. Neither team would produce offense until the Eagles came up in the bottom of the seventh. A single and a walk brought Aaron Gross from the Bobcat bullpen. A hit by pitch loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly added the ninth Eagle run. The winning run for the Eagles was in scoring position and a single down the left field line sealed the 10-0 win for Southwestern Christian.

Ty Rush and Hunter Lewis provided the only hits as the Bobcats finished their season with a 30-24 record and their second consecutive trip to the NCCAA Final Four. Bobcat freshman, Hunter Lewis, received World Series All-Tournament Team honors, and Chuck Hill, Cadan Kauffman, Zane Kelley, Trey Riley, and Ty Rush were recognized as NCCAA Scholar Athletes.

Bobcats Caleb Johnson, Chuck Hill, Spencer Greene, Tyler Buchanan, Rhett Hill, Riley Loyd, and Titus Atkins wrapped up their careers in the Bobcat maroon and white, and the impact they made on the program will be remembered for years to come. With a host of young talent returning in 2025, the Bobcats are sure to be back in force and we look for great things to come in the future.