Thursday, October 30, 2014

Eagles gun down Bluestem

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 5/30/2014

TOPEKA — Wellsville High School sophomore shortstop Tony Dougan knew he could gun the runner from deep in the hole.

He calmly made the play with a runner at third and two outs in the top of the seventh with Wellsville clinging to a one-run lead.

TOPEKA — Wellsville High School sophomore shortstop Tony Dougan knew he could gun the runner from deep in the hole.

He calmly made the play with a runner at third and two outs in the top of the seventh with Wellsville clinging to a one-run lead.

Dougan rifled the ball to first baseman Luke Meyer and it beat Leon-Bluestem’s Chance Gale to clinch the Eagles’ 4-3 victory Thursday in the first round of the 3A State Baseball Tournament in Topeka.

The Eagles (22-2) played Friday in the state semifinals against Silver Lake.

“That was exciting,” Wellsville senior catcher Mitch Huffman said. “He has got a cannon.”

Wellsville coach Casey Quinlan was nearly wrung out by all the late drama.

“He has the arm to do that,” Quinlan said. “Our defense came through. We shut them down at the end. It went to the last pitch.”

Bluestem did not make it easy for the third-seeded Eagles. Bluestem scored twice in the seventh and had the tying run on third when the game ended.

“We did not expect them to come out and play that well,” Huffman said. “They gave us a run for our money. We came out on top.”

Quinlan said it played just like a state championship game should be played.

“We were in it,” he said. “They were in it. It switched back and forth. It was good solid baseball.”

There were several turning points. One of the big ones came in the fifth inning. Wellsville got out of a bases-loaded no-out jam without giving up a run in a 1-1 tie.

The Eagles then scored two runs on four errors in the bottom of the fifth inning.

“They made the errors and we made the plays,” Huffman said.

Quinlan gave credit to his players.

“That is a sign of good solid defense and pitching to get us out of that situation,” he said. “We got ourselves into it because of a few mistakes we made. We came in pumped up. We got guys on. We had some key hits. They made errors and we took advantage of it. We did it with our speed.”

Wellsville had a couple of errors in the seventh inning to help Bluestem’s rally.

“Little dinky errors kicked our butt at the end,” Quinlan said. “Our kids battled back. We did a super job.”

Senior pitcher Shamus Kearney (10-0) tossed a five-hitter in getting his first state victory.

“He knows when he needs to bear down and throw strikes,” Huffman said. “He hit his spots when he needed to.”

Quinlan said, “It is his ball. He has been here four times. He lost twice. It was his turn. He was bound and determined.”

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