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Rocky finish for TMP baseball

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

The Thomas More Prep-Marian baseball team completed the first half of its schedule Tuesday night with a home triangular split against Scott City and Great Bend at TMP Field. The Monarchs defeated Scott City, 15-0, in four innings and then lost to Great Bend, 3-2, in seven innings, a contest that yielded an ugly finish from TMP.

The results continued a season-long trend for the Monarchs. Five of TMP's victories have come against winless Scott City (three times) and twice versus a freshman-heavy Ellis squad by a combined score of 89-7.

"I don't know if it's really doing much," coach Brian Schumacher said.

Then, the Monarchs are 2-3 against higher competition, including Great Bend, a quality team on par with Class 3A state tournament squads.

TMP has split with Garden City and Hoisington -- which swept Great Bend -- before Tuesday's loss. Great Bend junior starter Tristan Hall struck out 10 in a complete game and allowed just two singles.

"We've just got to find a way to have better at-bats," Schumacher said. "We are going up there swinging at bad pitches."

In the seventh, senior Taylor Wasinger walked to lead off the inning. Then, sophomore Jared Vitztum and senior Grant Romme struck out.

Senior Cameron Brin worked a 3-0 count, but looked at three consecutive strikes to end the game. Wasinger and senior Braiden Werth were ejected for arguing, along with Schumacher.

After the game, Schumacher was stern and loud with his players in the customary postgame team meeting down the third base line. It marked the first time in Schumacher's seven-year TMP tenure he had a player ejected.

"I was upset that we got beat, but I was very upset that we got two players ejected," Schumacher said. "...There was a lot of things that went on that were in our control that we didn't take care of ourselves. That's not our character."

Against 0-10 Scott City, sophomore starter Ricky Hockett worked a one-hitter and the Monarchs tallied four runs in the first, eight in the second and three in the fourth. Junior Kameron Schmidt had two hits and Brin, Schmidt and Wasinger each drove in three runs.

Then, the Monarchs never led versus the Panthers (6-4) in a well-played, close ballgame.

"Game in and game out, if we can face some better pitching as far as velocity-wise, get better accustomed to it," Schumacher said.

TMP scored a first-inning run off two walks and added another run in the fourth off a hit batter and a RBI single from sophomore Justin Pfeifer. One of Great Bend's top players, senior shortstop/pitcher Bryce Beck, missed the games with a knee injury.

"Had a good attitude on the mound," Great Bend coach Randy Beck said of Hall. "He threw a lot of strikes and got ahead in the count early and that allowed him to use his other stuff to kind of get out of a few jams. He just pounded the zone early and often and did very well."

Schmidt worked six innings and struck out eight. In the first inning, he allowed a leadoff single. After a flyout, a walk, single, pop out followed by another walk and single netted two runs. Then, Schmidt, a left-hander, settled in and eventually retired 12 of 14 at one point. Great Bend pushed across a run in the sixth, paving the way for the uncharacteristic finish. TMP travels to Goodland on Friday.

"He threw a heck of a game," Schumacher said of Schmidt. "Yeah, he struggled early. That's something that we've got to get to where he's ready right when he starts. That first inning he seems to struggle a little bit."