Bethel launches baseball season with 13-1 rout of Lexington

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Bethel's Mason Konkler rips a single through the left side of the infield against Lexington Monday night.
Bethel second baseman RJ Morris (left) takes the throw from catcher Daxton Roberts on a steal attempt Monday. Morris successfully applied the tag for the out.

BETHEL ACRES – Baseball is back and the Bethel Wildcats celebrated in a big way Monday.

Bethel pounded out 11 hits and received outstanding pitching efforts from starting right-hander Mason Konkler and reliever Reece Cheatham in hammering the visiting Lexington Bulldogs 13-1 in 4 ½ innings to launch the 2021 season.

“I'm proud of our guys. We only have two seniors (LW Moore and Harrison Thomas) and Thomas hasn't played since the eighth grade,” said Bethel head coach Lincoln Dearing. “It's great that we got to start off with a win.”

After a shaky first inning in which Lexington picked up its only run, the Wildcats countered with two runs each in the bottom of the first and second innings, before blowing the game open with a seven-run third.

“We hadn't played since last March 12th or 13th and had just a couple of scrimmages, so I expected a little shakiness. But whether you're playing the Yankees or the Oklahoma Sooners, you've got to come out ready to play,” Dearing said.

Konkler was magnificent from the hill for Bethel as he allowed no hits and three walks while striking out seven in 3 2/3 innings of work.

At one point, Konkler struck out six batters in a row from the last out of the first inning through the second out of the third. Four of those batters struck out looking and twice he got a strikeouts on 3-2 counts and three times on 2-2 counts.

In 1 1/3 innings, Cheatham gave up the lone Lexington hit, struck out one and gave up no walks.

The Wildcats bats went wild early as well as three Bethel players – John Gordon, Konkler and RJ Morris - collected two hits apiece in the contest.

Perhaps the most unlikely one was Gordon, who was playing in the Class 3A Basketball Area Tournament on Saturday and stepped on the diamond for the first time this year.

Gordon finished 2-for-2 with a double, three runs batted in and four runs scored. He had a massive two-run double to the gap in right-center in the third inning.

Konkler was 2-for-2 with one RBI, one walk and a run scored. Morris went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and scored twice.

Moore singled once and drew three walks for the Wildcats while Laco Anjudo, Connor Anthony and Cheatham were each 1-for-3.

Andujo drove in two runs off a fielder's choice in the first inning and a run-scoring single to left during that seven-run explosion in the third. Anthony also knocked in a run in the third.

That third inning included four Bethel hits with the help of two Lexington errors.

The Wildcats, 1-0, were scheduled to play at Lexington Tuesday and then host Konawa Thursday. The Wildcats are also scheduled to play at McLoud Friday.