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Shawnee Outpaces Dixie
J. C. Tilton

It was nice to have a break in the weather. Last weeks Dixie-Shawnee game took place in the sun and temps were in the 60's. But ass we will see the weather would later play a role in the game in an unexpected way. Dixie came into the game with a loss and a tie while Shawnee was 1 and 1.

Both teams loaded up the bases early. Dixie loaded up the bases on starter Lyle Johnson after 2 outs in their first at bat. But a fly out ended that threat. Shawnee was out in order, Aaron Bingham had a strikeout and the other two outs were a fly out and a caught foul ball. The roles were reversed in the second inning. Now Dixie was out in order, but Shawnee put runners on base, and later a walk would fill them up. However, a fly out ended that threat. At the end of two innings it was 0-0.

Both teams would find the plate in the third. Nick Miller singled and was advanced to third where a hit brought him home. A miscue caused a runner to be caught off of first for the third out and that ended the inning for Dixie. The Shawnee run was scored on a balk. In the 4th inning, Aaron Bingham tried to help his own cause by getting on base and stealing second. But the next two batters were struck out ending the threat. Shawnee was able to pull ahead in their half of the 4th inning when a double brought in the go ahead run. Bingham struck out the next batter to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Also in this inning Shawnee decided to make a pitching change, bringing in their ace, Cory Kesler. This is where the weather becomes a factor. The Shawnee coach decided to gamble that with a cold front coming in the next day that the fields would be too wet from rain to play the next days game when Kesler was slated to start. He decided to pull out all of the stops against Dixie and get the victory by bringing in his ace pitcher to finish the game.

Against Kesler, Dixie had problems getting on base. They were 3 and out the next two innings. Meanwhile Shawnee's 5th inning offense padded their lead. Jack Russell got a single and proceeded to steal 2nd and then 3rd base. A single brought him in to score and this sparked a rally. A batter was hit by a pitch and Nick Bertke was brought in as a reliever for the Greyhounds. But by the time that the inning was over Shawnee was sitting on all of the runs it needed - up 5-1. Neither team would generate a threat as the sun set and Shawnee held on for the win.

Dixie's coach Bingham was asked for comment, “I was pleased, we had a freshman go out there and start the game. he threw 3+ innings for us. Defensively we played pretty solid except for that 5th inning. Had one bad inning and let the game get away from us. If we can cut down our mistakes we can be right in there. There's a lot of little things we need to work on to get to the next level for our baseball team. It's going to be a learning process, we have a lot of young kids.” He did admit that the team couldn't adjust against Shawnee's Cory Kesler, “We struggled hitting him, and he had a good move to first base.” Dixie plays Tuesday against Madison, Thursday against Waynesville.

Shawnee's coach Bates was asked about Jack Russell's two steals that sparked the fifth inning rally, “He is very fast; that inning set us off, he bunted, stole second, stole third, and scored on a sacrifice fly - Russell sparked us.” He was very pleased with his two pitchers, Lyle Johnson and Cory Kesler. Then he related the story on how he decided to give Kesler some innings, anticipating a rainout the next day. The gamble paid off with a Shawnee victory. Shawnee opens league play on Tuesday against rival Eaton. Comments:

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