Class 4 Maryville baseball senior left-handed pitcher Blake Katen walked up the mound. He and the rest of the Spoofhounds were tied with Class 2 Northeast Nodaway 1-1 at the top of the third inning March 24 at Maryville High School.
The Bluejays were in scoring position, with junior Elais Alarcon on first base and junior Grant McIntyre on second. Just two at-bats before Katen came in to replace junior right-handed pitcher Boston Hageman, Northeast Nodaway scored the tying run with a ground ball from Grant McIntrye to the left side of the field to drive in cousin and senior Dylan McIntrye.
There Katen was — at the top of the third, with a freshly tied-up game, two runners on base and only one out.
“I was just thinking, ‘Put it over the plate, I got a defense behind that can make plays and — it’s a smaller school — so (the Bluejays) haven’t seen me before,’” Katen said. “I thought maybe movement-wise I could get them, and it happened.”
Whether it was Katen’s movements or not, the senior did exactly what he was put out there to do, striking out the next two batters for Northeast Nodaway and ending the top of the third inning with two Bluejays on base.
While the pitching change helped Maryville get out of a hole defensively, it also seemingly sparked the Spoofhounds’ offense. Led by two doubles by senior outfielder Spencer Scott, Maryville exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the third.
The Spoofhounds added another run in the bottom of the fourth, but ultimately defeated the Bluejays 11-1 in five innings. Scott, who was 2-for-3 from the plate, said it was nice to bounce back from an 0-for-2 performance the day before in a 12-0 win in five innings for the Spoofhounds over Maysville March 23 in Maryville.
“It’s been great to run-rule two teams and start off the year hot,” Scott said. “Couldn’t have asked for more.”
It was a team effort for Maryville, as eight players recorded a hit, nine combined hits in the bottom of the third inning, and seven players scored a run in the Spoofhounds’ win. Senior catcher Adam Patton, Scott and Katen totaled two hits against the Bluejays.
Even with Katen substituting Hageman after the third, coach Hans Plackemeier said he was impressed with both of his pitchers, especially after dealing with weather-related issues.
“They did good because that's the first time any of our pitchers have pitched on our mound,” Plackemeier said. “We've only pitched off our portable mounds in the gym, so they're a lot different and it's just tough. It's tough to get out there and do it.”
In the bottom of the fourth, sophomore infielder Peyton McCollum drove in the final run of the evening with a sacrifice hit to advance junior outfielder Don Allen to home from third base.
Plackemeier said it’s been nice to start the season with back-to-back wins after the team wasn’t able to get on the field much throughout preseason practice due to weather. Katen said the beginning of the season has been a confidence boost for the whole team.
“Oh, it's huge,” Katen said. “Just to prove to ourselves that we're here to play, and we can, and we're able to win — yeah we make little mistakes, but we've learned — and in the past couple games, I think we've improved on some things from the first game. We got stuff to improve still, but we’ll always have that.”
The win improves Maryville’s record to 2-0. After two consecutive home games, the Spoofhounds will hit the road for contests with St. Joseph-Benton (2-1) March 27 and South Harrison (1-0) March 28.
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