BY MIKE URSERY
The Fayette baseball Falcons played their first home game of the 2018 season on April 9, defeating the Paris Coyotes 5-1 at Estes Field.
Sophomore pitchers Jack Kindle and Cale Polson combined for seven innings, holding the Coyotes (3-1, 1-1 Lewis and Clark) to one run, as the two pitchers combined to allow only five hits.
“They did a fantastic job,” Fayette head coach Garth Menees said. “We battled through some situations that we haven’t been in before, and that’s always good to see. They came in and pitched to contact, which is what I’ve been preaching the whole year. Hopefully, they come out and do the same again and we have good outing from here on out.
Offensively, the Falcons used situational hitting, and caught a few breaks, to get runs across the plate. Fayette scored five runs on six hits. They scored one run on a wild pitch, and another on an error.
“It was very much a team win,” Menees said. “I told the guys it’s so much more fun to watch them go out there and swing the bats instead of keeping it on their shoulder or just not making contact. I truly think having that approach this time was the difference in the game we played on Thursday (April 5) against Westran.”
The Coyotes took a brief 1-0 lead after scoring on an error in the top of the first inning.
Fayette returned the favor in the bottom of the first inning, when Kindle was able to cross the plate on an error by Paris, tying the score 1-1. That was the score after one full inning.
The Falcons took the lead for good in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman second baseman Jonathan Ebbesmeyer hit a one-out double in the inning, and later scored on a wild pitch to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Falcons.
Ebbesmeyer made plays with not only his bat, but also his glove. He was responsible for all three outs in the top of the fifth inning. On the first out in the inning, he made a basket catch on a “major league pop-up” after letting the ball bounce off his chest.
“He looked good,” Menees said about Ebbesmeyer’s play at second base. “Some of those were a little unconventional, but he made the play.”
Paris threatened to score in the top of the second inning, putting at runners at second and third with two outs. Kindle got the next hitter to strike out looking and end the threat.
Fayette added two more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Junior Ross Hudson led off the inning with a single. He later scored on an RBI-groundout by junior Cameron Stornello to make the score 3-1.
Sophomore first baseman Robert Saunders picked up both his first hit and first RBI of the season with a single up the middle to score sophomore catcher Quess Frerking, making it a 4-1 game.
Fayette’s fifth run came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Frerking hit an RBI-double. Ross Hudson made the trip from first base all the way to the plate.
The Fayette baseball Falcons were expected to play their first game of the 2018 season three weeks ago.
Fayette had an away scheduled for March 19 at New Franklin. That game was canceled due to rain, as was a game the following day at Stover.
The Falcons have had to cancel six straight games to start the season, something head coach Garth Menees said he has never before seen.
That streak of canceled games snapped on April 5, when Fayette traveled to Huntsville, Missouri, for a game against the Westran Hornets. The clouds broke, making way for a clear, sunny day, with temperatures in the 60s at game time.
Westran won the game 10-0, thanks to a combination of strong pitching and timely hitting. Despite the loss, Menees said that having the chance to play against competition was the most important thing that day.
“It was priority No. 1 to get out here and play today,” Menees said. “Everybody was really excited. We thought we were going to play yesterday (April 4), unfortunately, field conditions dictated that. It was all smiles on the bus ride over here. We were just really happy to get out on the field.”
Fayette sophomore Cale Polson started on the mound for the Falcons. He pitched three innings, allowing five runs and striking out four Westran batters.
“He did a nice job,” Menees said. “He was having a little trouble finding some of his pitches. His command wasn’t there. It was his first time on the hill, first time out, you know it’s going to be a struggle. I would have like to have kept him under the number of pitches he went to, but he finished out pretty strong.”
Fayette will play a game at Father Tolton on April 13. This game was originally scheduled for April 10, but was re-scheduled. The game begins at 5 p.m. at Atkins Park Black Field in Columbia, Missouri.