ASHER – The Class B Maud baseball team traveled to Asher feeling like they had something to prove Wednesday as they look for a long-awaited return to the state tournament. The Tigers made a strong case for themselves to open playoffs with an 18-0 shutdown of Sasakwa and 16-5 win over Asher in the first day of the district tournament at Asher.
“That's the statement we wanted to make... A lot of people don't think that we're a worthy opponent and we wanted to make a statement and let them know that we can play a little bit,” Maud coach Brad Bodkin said.
Braden Fletcher got the start on the mound for the Tigers but after walking the first three batters faced Kash Bodkin was brought in to relieve him. Trevor Martin hit a sacrifice to center to score a run and the Indians added two more on a passed ball and a balk to lead 3-0 in the bottom of the first.
Coach Bodkin had originally planned on saving Kash to pitch today, he said, but was forced to retire that idea early. Asher's ace Martin will take the bump today to try and keep the Indians' season alive.
“I wanted to offset their pitcher Trevor with him but Braden just couldn't find it,” coach Bodkin said. “We made a change before he dug a hole. We had to do what we had to do.”
Lane Brooks homered to lead off the second for the Tigers and kick off a five-run rally to take the lead. Bodkin hit a two-run double, Connor Pellmon singled to drive in a run and Cole Brewer scored on a passed ball.
They rallied with three more runs in the fifth and Ryan Bowers sent a two-run shot over the left field wall to kick off a capitalizing eight-run rally in the sixth to activate the mercy rule.
Errors kept innings going longer than they should have for the Indians, who didn't merit a victory at that point, coach Shane Coker said.
“You don't deserve to be going forward at this point in the season if you don't go make those plays,” he said.
Maud's hitting has improved a lot over the last few weeks, coach Bodkin said.
“That has been our forte for the last three or four weeks. We will make an error or something in the field but our bats have been there,” he said.
Jayse Beverage hit a two-run single in the bottom half of the sixth, but the Indians were unable to tack on any more runs. Beverage took over at first base in the second after a violent collision on a popup in shallow left caused Dylan Williamson to leave the game and the positions to be shaken up.
Braydon Sanders started for the Indians on the mound and went through the first two outs of the fourth before Junior Hasbell came on to replace him. Sanders gave up four earned runs on nine hits with nine strikeouts and Hasbell gave up one earned run on four hits. The team committed six errors behind them.
“A ground ball breaks our back and then the snowball affect, pitcher starts stuggling and you just see it all day,” coach Shane Coker said.
Bodkin struck out six and didn't give up a single walk.
Hasbell and Sanders will not be allowed to pitch in either of today's games, but Coker likes the bullpen he still has available.
“That still leaves us three or four arms to win two games. I like my chances, but dang they can swing it,” he said.
The teams will meet again today at noon at Asher in a do-or-die situation for the Indians. In order to move on, Asher will need to win two games against the Tigers today. If Maud wins the noon game they will move on to regionals and Asher's season will come to an end.
The winner may end up being who wants it more, and the Tigers showed how badly they wanted to move on in Wednesday's games.
“You could tell, they're playing for a state title out there... you could tell all day that it meant something for them and their fans and we couldn't ever seem to get it turned around and going the other way,” Coker said.
Asher vs Sasakwa
Junior Hasbell gave up one hit and the Indians beat Sasakwa 15-0 via run-rule to open up their district tournament run and send Sasakwa packing.
Preston Patten doubled twice and hit one home run to drive in six runs in the victory and Trevor Martin walked and homered to bring in two. Jake Dobbs and Junior Hasbell drove in two runs apiece.
Maud vs Sasakwa
Kash Bodkin went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a triple and scored on three occasions to lead Maud to an 18-0 win over Sasakwa. Cole brewer drove in one run and Braden Fletcher brought home two.
Ryan Bowers gave up one hit on the mound and struck out one in the three-inning win.