HUMBOLDT – Sheer desire to get things back on track was evident Wednesday night when Chanute Baseball earned two wins over Iola in Humboldt.
Chanute swept Iola in the doubleheader, winning 11-6 in Game 1 and 8-3 in Game 2. In Game 1, Chanute mustered up seven hits versus Iola’s six hits. Chanute had just two errors, while Iola committed 10.
Scorching the leather off the baseball led to several of Iola’s errors in Game 1, and many Chanute players got in on the act. Rhett Smith produced two hits; Aaron Robertson and Gage Guiot each had a hit, two RBIs and scored two runs; Keondre Gregory chalked up a hit and registered two RBIs; Bryan Jackett and Kaiden Barnett each had a hit and scored a run; Braxton Harding tallied three runs; while Caden Schwegman and Blake Atwood scored once.
First-year independent coach Jeremy Wheeler said he was pleased to get back in the win column after four straight losses.
“Great to get a win, it’s great to have hits on the board. I don’t know how many exactly we had, but we hit the ball better,” Wheeler said. “Even our approach to the plate was a lot better. That’s one of the keys we’ve been talking about, kind of having that approach to the plate, even though we got out with some choppers and ground balls. Still we are having a good approach. You keep on having a good approach, you’ll find hits.”
Jackett said he was zeroed in at the plate.
“Lately I’ve been pulling my head, so this time I kind of just kept my head down and saw the ball come in. They (were) a little bit slow so you kind of have to sit back on it, throw my hands at it and put the barrel on the ball,” Jackett said.
On the mound, Schwegman struck out one, walked six, and allowed two earned runs, three hits and six runs in 2 and 2/3 innings. Smith struck out three, walked none and allowed no earned runs and three hits in 4 and 1/3 innings. Smith ultimately took the win, his first of the year.
“Schwegy started us off, he threw fine, he threw a good game, just allowed a couple runs here and there, then we brought in Rhett Smith and he was able to throw strikes and put the ball over the plate and threw a good game. Both pitchers threw a good game,” Wheeler said. “Rhett was able to come in and shut it down pretty good.”
Trailing 6-5 in the top of the fifth with two outs and Guiot at the plate, Barnett scored on a pitching error. The error also moved Robertson up to third base. Guiot then hit to second base and reached on an error, which allowed Robertson to score and putting Chanute up 7-6.
Both teams were heading in opposite directions from the top of the fifth on. Guiot advanced to second after Jackett singled to center field, and an error in center let the first baseman score, upping the score to 8-6 Chanute.
Chanute’s Harding scored on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth, putting the score to 9-6. The last two runs were thanks to Gregory, who singled on a line drive to right field, scoring Jackett and Atwood.
Iola coach John Taylor spoke about the inning that turned the game around: the top of the fifth.
“That swing inning, we got two outs early, so we are looking good, we’re still up by two runs, we got a guy on first and third, you get a pop fly in the infield, catch it, and then we overthrow third. If we get that, we end the inning; instead, a run scores and another guy goes around, and the very next batter, we have an error,” Taylor said. “A lot of times with kids, maybe a little bit older, once you have a couple errors in a row, it just kind of snowballs and they stop playing like they can. They hit the ball hard and made us make mistakes, and we did.”
Chanute got off to a 4-0 start after Guiot scored on a passed ball in the top of the first. Preceding this play was the bulk of the scoring in the inning thanks to Guiot singling to left field and bringing in Robertson and Schwegman, which made the score 3-0.
The bottom of the third is when Iola took the lead for the first time. With Chanute up 4-3, Iola’s Carter Hutton singled on a line drive to right field to score Mac Leonard and Drake De La Torre. Two batters later with the bases loaded, Trey Sommer was hit by a pitch, and scoring Hutton to put Iola up 6-4.
Before Chanute ultimately grabbed the lead in the top of the fifth, Robertson singled on a ground ball to the pitcher, and Harding scored, nudging the score to 6-5 in favor of Iola.
Iola’s Hutton hit once and brought in three ribbies. On the hill, Trevor Church, who took the loss, struck out four, walked four and allowed two earned runs and five hits in five innings.
In Chanute’s fourth victory of the year, Guiot put up three hits, including a double, and two RBIs, while Barnett, Smith and Robertson each had two hits. Harding, Cam Hugo, and Jackett all had a hit apiece, with Harding and Jackett both posting two RBIs. Everybody mentioned scored a run, too.
Chanute had a 12-hit game, while Iola (16-7) was up to three.
Pitching, Hugo had a complete game with four strikeouts, three walks, three earned runs and three hits, his first win of the year.
ourth inning in Game 2 was when Chanute got over the top. Down 3-2, Chanute hit seven times and scored eight runs to go up 8-3. Jackett singled on a line drive to center field and brought in Guiot and Hugo; Harding singled on a ground ball to center field and brought in Rylan McVey and Jackett; Barnett singled on a ground ball to third to bring in Harding; Robertson singled on a line drive to left field and scored Atwood; and Guiot singled on a ground ball to first, scoring Smith and Robertson after a throw to second.
“(I am) very proud of the team tonight. They came out and struggled the first inning and battled back, and for seven hits in the fourth inning to make it 8-3 to win the second game,” Chanute Baseball assistant coach Hunter Friederich said. “(It is) very promising (after) the wins tonight; we just have to keep that mentality going into Friday against St. Paul. Everyone hit the ball in the second game.”
For Iola, Gavin Page, Brandon McKarnin and Avery Blaufuss put up one hit each. Sommer gave up one walk and eight earned runs and 11 hits in 3 and 1/3 innings.
Chanute (4-4) will play St. Paul on their turf at 6 and 8 pm Friday.