Wildcats, Teutons win regional baseball openers

By Steve Sell
May 15, 2018

MOUNDRIDGE — Moundridge and Inman advanced to the second round of the Class 2-1A Regional Baseball Tournament on Monday.

The Wildcats were an 8-3 winner over Minneola, while Inman dispatched county rival Canton-Galva, 17-7.

Today’s first game pits Inman (4-17) against No. 1 seed Spearville (14-2) at 2:00, while Moundridge (8-13) takes on Medicine Lodge (12-6) at 3:30. The championship game will follow.

Moundridge struggled for much of its game with Minneola, leading only 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth when it scored two runs. Minneola stunned the Wildcats with three runs in the sixth, but Moundridge bounced right back with a huge five-spot in the bottom of the sixth to put it away.

MHS’ Chris Leddy had two hits and drove in three runs. Luke Ratzlaff had a homer and single, driving in two. Noah Eichelberer, Bryant Olson and Corbin Unruh all collected two hits.

Moundridge coach Lynn Eichelberger spaced out his pitching as he employed four. Coming up huge was Wyatt Falco, who delivered three innings on one-hit baseball to pick up the win.

“It took us a while to get going, but we finally hit the ball in the fifth and sixth innings,” Eichelberger said. “We were leading 3-0 and let Minneola back in the game with a few walks and hit batsmen. They tied the game in the top of the sixth and still had the bases loaded with two outs. I noticed the runner at third was getting a huge secondary lead. I called a pick play to third and catcher Collin Kohl made a nice snap-throw to Jon Schlosser at third base to get the third out to end the inning.”

That play seemed to inspire the Wildcats.

“It gave us some momentum and in the bottom of the inning, after Schlosser got walked, Luke Ratzlaff hit a laser to the fence and came all the way around to score for an inside-the-park home run,” Eichelberger said. “Wyatt Falco reached on an error and then Corbin Unruh and Noah Eichelberger followed with consecutive singles.  A well-executed suicide squeeze by Kohl and courtesy runner Brady Helms extended the lead. Chris Leddy then followed with a two-RBI single to center scoring Unruh and Eichelberger.”

Eichelberger said Leddy and Kohl will be available to pitch today, with Falco the only pitcher not available.

Inman recorded its third win over Canton-Galva this year in the other first-round game.

The Teutons jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings and then scored nine runs in its final two innings.

"I was extremely pleased with our discipline at the plate and aggressive base-running, drawing 15 walks and swiping 12 bases," Inman coach Matt Mikulecky said. "Landon Snyder gave us the strong effort that we needed. He pitched 2 1/3 innings on 30 pitches, giving up just one run. Landon has emerged as a clutch performer on the mound for us over the course of the season. He has shown excellent command and efficiency with his pitches. His off-speed stuff is getting better every time out. He is stingy and smart with his approach and that's what we need.  All we want is to give our defense a chance to make plays. Landon does that very well. Having jumped out to a 7-0 lead, we were able to roll the dice and pull Landon at 30 pitches so he will be eligible to pitch Tuesday."

Dakota Parkhurst continued on his season-long hitting tear, homering and driving in two runs. He is hitting over .500 on the season.

Other leaders were Derick Johnson (two hits, three RBIs) and John Ramey (a three-run triple).

"We have a tough task ahead of us Tuesday, facing No. 1 seed Spearville," Mikulecky said.   "From what I have gathered, they are a very good team that does everything well. They have more power than we've seen (17 team home runs) and their pitching seems to be very solid.  Fortunately, we have all of our pitchers available, so we can give them our best shot.  We will need all hands on deck, but the guys are excited for the opportunity."     

For Canton-Galva, which finished 2-15, Jonah Sargent had two hits and two RBIs to lead the offense. Nick Pearson also picked up two hits. Even though the record wasn’t positive, the Eagles started six freshmen and two sophomores, with Sargent the only senior, so the future is bright.