Eyeing the ball

Blake Atwood connects with a pitch versus Coffeyville at Katy Park on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Chanute would go on to lose twice to Coffeyville and drop to 9-7 on the summer independent baseball year. 


It looked as if Chanute Baseball would finally get over the hump against Coffeyville on a warm and sunny Tuesday evening at Katy Park. But Coffeyville paced Chanute in the first five innings before grabbing the lead in the sixth, ultimately winning 9-6 in Game 1 of a doubleheader.

It was Chanute’s fifth-straight loss to Coffeyville dating back to the June 16 and 18 doubleheader matchups. 

Chanute, however, did some good things early in the first game, which led to Rhett Smith producing three hits, including a double and an RBI; Gage Guiot registering three singles; Caden Schwegman putting up a double and an RBI, Aaron Robertson hitting once and bringing in two RBIs; Kaiden Barnett and Lane Roberts both rocking a single and an RBI; and Blake Atwood racking up a hit.

Starting pitcher Schwegman struck out four and walked three in five innings. He was relieved by Barnett, who notched one strikeout in two innings.

“They’re actually not tough at all. We actually had 11 hits, we had three errors that game and we just started playing not-team players, we just started playing as ourselves,” assistant Chanute coach Hunter Friederich said after Game 1. “(My message was to) keep hitting the ball, stay up like we have been the whole game and then the wheels fell off the bus. (We) just started getting down on ourselves.”

With Chanute up 6-5 in the top of the sixth, Coffeyville tied the game after Ian Oliver singled to score Shawn Sutton. Chanute Baseball coach Jeremy Wheeler then replaced Schwegman with Barnett at pitcher, but Israel Rodriguez still singled and scored Ryan Powell, giving Coffeyville its first lead (7-6) of the ballgame. On the same play, Coffeyville’s Easton O’Kane tried to roll around third and score, but centerfielder Blake Atwood hurtled a strong throw to home plate to catcher Bryan Jackett, who tagged the runner for the out, ending the inning.

Coffeyville head coach Jeff Leiker tried to argue the call, saying O’Kane slid under the tag, but the umpire kept saying, “That won’t change the call.” Wheeler, who was coming out of the dugout, said that was the call on the field as he walked to first base to coach.

Still, Coffeyville’s Ty Wintjen singled and brought in Hudson Baker and Mason Seigel, and this put the final score to 9-6 in the top of seventh. That was all she wrote.

“...The right fielder came in for my boy, and he got a two-RBI single that put us ahead 9-6 in that final inning, that was big,” Leiker said. “It’s stuff like that, that feels good, because we haven’t practiced since the first two days of the summer. We just go and play baseball.”

Early in the game, Robertson singled and scored Braxton Harding and Barnett to give Chanute the early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

Coffeyville mixed in a run in the top of the second, when Oliver singled and scored Kyle Jackson. Chanute was able to avoid trouble after executing a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The defense seemed to galvanize the offense, and it was all Chanute from this point on – for most of the game.

Roberts sacrifice flied, which allowed Rylan McVey to score and up the score to 3-1 in the bottom of the second. In the same inning, Chanute would open up the lead. Barnett singled and scored Atwood; Schwegman doubled, leading to Barnett running to home plate; and Smith doubled to bring in Schwegman, which exploded the Chanute lead to 6-1 in just the second inning.

Coffeyville had patiently waited to make their move on Schwegman, who was pitching well in the beginning of the game. But Coffeyville’s Mason Seigel singled and brought in Rodriguez, putting the score to 6-2 Chanute. But two straight passed balls led to two runs for Coffeyville.

Coffeyville’s Jackson singled to notch another run scored by Davis Merrick, which made the score 6-5 in the top of the third. That’s when Chanute executed the second 6-4-3 double play of the game to end the inning.

Schwegman was able to shrug things off and keep the lead until the top of the sixth, when Coffeyville turned things around for good.

Coffeyville was able to swing things after replacing starting pitcher Rodriguez with Seigel in the bottom of the second, when Chanute had built a 6-1 lead. Seigel kept Chanute guessing with fastballs mixed in with curves. He had four strikeouts and one walk in 5 and 2/3 innings, while starter Rodriguez struck out two and walked three in his 1 and 1/3 innings of action.


Game 2

Chanute dropped to 9-7 on the year after losing 13-3 to Coffeyville in Game 2. 

The local baseball team racked up four hits and four errors and left seven on base, while Coffeyville hit seven times, had no errors and left five on base.

Barnett put up two singles and two stolen bases; Roberts managed a triple and an RBI; and Robertson had a single.

Coffeyville’s Jackson had a single and two RBIs and O’Kane tallied two singles, a stolen base and an RBI.

“(We) basically want to play smart. We get so down on ourselves when we don’t need to get down on ourselves,” Wheeler said. 

“When we fought a good game, we had a hard battle, a couple things don’t go our way, we just really get down on ourselves. And I’m just not sure, and once we get down on ourselves, it just goes down from there. And I’m really not sure how we are going to correct that, but we are going to correct that.”

Chanute plays Coffeyville again tonight, 6 and 8 pm, on the road. 

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