FORT SCOTT — Labette County High School dropped two games of a doubleheader Friday against Southeast Kansas League leader Fort Scott.
Fort Scott won the first game 7-2 and won the second game 8-7.
In the first game, Fort Scott got an early lead in the bottom of the first. The rest of the game was quiet until the bottom of the sixth, when the Tigers scored six runs on three hits.
Labette County answered in the top of the seventh with two runs on two hits, but it wasn’t enough to get the win.
Chase Dodsworth pitched 5 1/3 innings with Will Owens going the rest of the way. Owens singled for the Grizzlies. Kyle Stringer singled and scored a run and Parker Grant, the catcher, singled and scored a run.
“Chase Dodsworth crafted a very nice performance on the hill, keeping their potent line-up off balance,” LCHS Coach Jesse Ybarra said. “Once he got going, his control was impressive. He has battled some arm tenderness and so for him to come back from that time off and perform like did is a real boost for our club.
“I’m really proud of the way our kids rose to the challenge of these key league games at Fort Scott. Obviously, we would have loved to come home with two wins and they were within our reach, still we competed very well and gained some valuable game experience and confidence as we draw closer to the regionals. Fort Scott will be the No. 1 seed and our kids know for sure now that we are just as capable of winning the regional as they are,” Ybarra said.
In game two, Fort Scott again had an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Labette scored in the third and fourth innings before a 5-run sixth inning put them in the lead 7-4. Fort Scott added a run in the bottom of the sixth and then three in the bottom of the seventh to get the one-run win.
Jake Mattox pitched four innings for the Grizzlies. Austin Yanez took the mound for 1 2/3 winnings with Braden Anderson finishing up the last out. Will Owens pitched one inning to complete the game. Mattox and Yanez singled and scored for Labette. Owens singled, scored a run and had two RBI. Stringer hit a sacrifice fly, a three-run home run and had four RBI. Klein Ryan singled, scored a run and had an RBI for the Grizzlies.
Ybarra said the Grizzly defense continues to improve.
“Austin Yanez is literally running down anything hit his way from alley to alley and displaying a very accurate arm in put outs of base runners,” Ybarra said. “Yet, we were all even more excited about his return to the hill if only for a brief time. It was kind of a hold your breath moment when he threw his first pitch. His first pitch was a fastball at the knees and a called strike. Looked like he had been on the hill all season. So, getting Austin back in pitching shape could be a real difference maker down the stretch.”
Ybarra said Owens and Mattox look more confident each time out at third base and short stop and Grant continues to throw out runners who attempt to steal. He said Ryan and Westin Myers had solid play.
“We needed Klein to play outfield as well today and he responded with a fine diving catch,” he said. Kyle O’Connor’s glove at first base gives infielders more confidence, Ybarra said. Trevor Kellogg and Braden Anderson continue to challenge any ball hit their way and they do an excellent job of communicating.
Ybarra also was impressed with Kyle Stringer’s bat. He had a pinch hit single in game one and he came up with a three-run home run in game two.
“That blast looked like the game winner for us for a time. Our kids played hard and really went right after these two games. We’re playing better and we’re another step closer to being the ball club we think we can be,” Ybarra said.
Fort Scott 7, Labette County 2
R H E
Labette 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 — 2 3 2
Fort Scott 1 0 0 0 0 6 X — 7 5 1
Fort Scott 8, Labette County 7
R H E
Labette 0 0 1 1 0 5 0 — 7 5 0
Fort Scott 1 0 1 2 0 1 3 — 8 10 2