TMP baseball splits with Larned
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Between a fast start in Game 1 and strong finish in Game 2 on Tuesday against visiting Larned High School, the Thomas More Prep-Marian baseball team had 11 scoreless innings its offense would rather forget.
“We squared up on a few balls, but we also had a fair amount of poor at-bats,” TMP coach Brian Schumacher said. “We just got to get more consistent at the plate, as far as being selective on our pitches and chasing some bad stuff. Just trying to do too much with it at times, as a team. We are going to continue to work at that.”
Despite the offensive struggles, TMP managed to take one of two against the Indians, winning 2-0 in Game 1 and losing 5-3 in Game 2 at TMP Field.
The Monarchs scored their Game 1 runs in the bottom of the first inning. An RBI single by senior catcher Jordan Gottschalk scored sophomore Ricky Hockett, with a wild throw sending Grant Romme home soon after.
Two runs proved to be more than junior pitcher Kameron Schmidt needed, his arm and a solid Monarch defense held Larned scoreless.
Schmidt pitched the complete game, giving up six hits, one walk and striking out eight batters for his fourth win.
“As a pitcher, you are a lot more competitive when it’s a closer game, rather than when you are blowing someone out,” Schmidt said. “It just feels better when you win those.”
The TMP defense, near perfect in Game 1, wasn’t nearly as sharp in the second game. A fielding error by Hockett at shortstop put Larned’s first batter, Landon Erway, on base. Erway then stole second before Isiah Perez singled to left field to score Erway.
From there until Larned extended its lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning, it was a pitchers’ duel between Larned’s Easton Palmer and TMP’s Cameron Brin.
Then the Indians broke the game open in the top of the sixth by scoring three runs off Brin to make it 5-0.
The Monarchs refused to quit, however, and nearly completed the comeback in the bottom of the seventh. A one out, RBI triple by Liam Stults scored Justin Pfeifer from second base to put TMP on the board. Three batters later, with two outs, Romme belted the ball into left field for a double, allowing two runs to come home and cut the lead to 5-3.
A single by Braiden Werth advanced Romme to third, but a pop-up from Ryan Schippers to second base ended the game.
“You got the tying run at first base and had a chance. We made it a game. That’s a good thing,” Schumacher said. “It’s just defensively, we didn’t play quite as well as we did in the first game. We had a few errors. Cameron did a great job on the mound for us.”
Despite seven good innings from Brin, where he allowed eight hits and only one earned run, the Monarchs couldn’t overcome their slow start and five fielding errors.
The split sends TMP to 12-4 with a pair of doubleheaders remaining before regionals, which begin May 19. The Monarchs will host Russell on Monday, a makeup from April 29, and Colby on May 15.
TMP’s regional will feature Anthony/Harper-Chaparral, Haven, Lakin, Lyons/Chase, and regional host, Holcomb. The games will be played at Holcomb High School.
“It’s always nice having new competition. We don’t get to play down there very often,” Schmidt said of the team’s regional draw. “We are in a good spot. We are having some tough games, but we will get our break. I like where we are at right now for regionals and hopefully state.”