Sandites spoil Shawnee's season opener
The Shawnee Wolves opened the 2021 baseball campaign with a self-inflicted 10-4 loss to the visiting Sand Springs Sandites Friday night at Ed Skelton Field.
The Wolves cruised through the first four innings of play, before the wheels loosened in the fifth before completely falling off in the sixth.
After a three-up, three-down top half of the first, Shawnee took a 1-0 lead after its first at-bat of the season. Gunner Head led off the bottom half with a walk then moved to second on a bunt single by Kasen Rogers. Head scored on a deep infield fielder's choice grounder by Krew Taylor, giving the Wolves the 1-0 lead.
The Wolves increased the lead to 3-0 after their third at bat and scored the two runs with two outs.
Starting pitcher Bauer Brittain singled to left field, then scored when slugger Koby Mitchell sent a Gage Elliott pitch over the right-fielder’s head and came to rest with a stand-up RBI double. Boston Tully followed that with an RBI single to center, giving the Wolves the 3-0 lead after three.
On the mound, Brittain seemed to be in full control of the game as he pitched four shut-out innings for the Wolves. He gave up just two hits, walked three and struck out seven Sand Springs batters, but a leadoff error and a walk in the top half of the fifth, cut his night short.
Kasen Rogers entered in a relief effort, but struggled on the bump. Two infield singles gave the Sandites two runs, which Brittain was responsible for to cut the Shawnee lead to 3-2 after 4 ½ innings of play.
Shawnee answered with a lone run in the bottom of the fifth. Brittain walked to start things off and later scored when Trace McDaniels was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Brittain went 3-for-3 in the game, with all three hits being singles, and drew a walk.
Disaster struck the Wolves in the top half of the sixth. After a pair of outs with a walk sandwiched in between, Sand Springs sent 12 batters to the dish in the inning, scored eight runs on just three hits and took full advantage of six walks, a wild pitch and two doubles that scored three of the runs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Shawnee loaded the bases, with two outs, but back-to-back strikeouts by Sand Springs reliever Brycen Peterman ended any hopes of a late-game rally by the Wolves.
Brock Swanson came in to close the game for the Sandites in the bottom of the seventh. Once again Shawnee loaded the bases, but came away empty handed to drop the 10-4 decision.
Peterman earned the win for Sand Springs and Swanson tallied the save.
Rogers took the loss for the Wolves.