TMP loses twice to open season
By KLINT SPILLER
Thomas More Prep-Marian High School junior catcher Jordan Gottschalk admitted his nerves were amplified heading into the doubleheader against Scott City.
The field was filled with new faces after graduating 10 seniors off last year's squad. Many players made their first varsity starts of their career Tuesday.
The Monarchs didn't come away with a win, but looked solid in their new-look debut, falling by just one run in both games to the No. 4-ranked team in Class 3A.
"It was nerve racking coming up to the plate at first," Gottschalk said. "It was new. New people."
TMP, ranked No. 9 in the Class 3A KABC preseason rankings, lost both by a 3-2 score at Larks Park. The games were played at Larks Park since TMP's field wasn't ready.
"We very easily could have come away with two wins," TMP head coach Brian Schumacher said.
Defensively, the Monarchs looked solid. They had just one error, and they turned two double plays. Junior center fielder Taylor Wasinger even made a diving catch in Game 1.
"We made some really nice plays," Schumacher said. "That's something that's exciting. Defensively, we are already where we'd like to be."
TMP's offense might have been what struggled the most.
The Monarchs finished with four hits in Game 1 and five hits in Game 2.
"We had some really poor at-bats," Schumacher said. "Our swings were way out in front. We are hitting off our front foot, but that's something we'll adjust. As a team, we'll be all right."
Gottschalk, who went 0 for 3 in the opener and 2 for 3 in Game 2, said he felt more confident after brushing off the nerves.
"I think we were more intimidated by (Scott City starter Drew) Kite," Gottschalk said. "We haven't hit off him. Even last year's seniors couldn't hit off him."
Kite (1-0) pitched a complete game to start the doubleheader. He allowed three runs, one earned, off four hits and three walks while striking out four.
However, he might have lost the opener if it wasn't for a base-running mistake by TMP in the seventh.
Down 3-1, sophomore first baseman Ryan Schippers drove in a run with a single to left field.
Then with the tying run already on third, Schippers attempted to stretch the single into a double, but Scott City made the throw to second well before Schippers made it there, ending the game.
"He was getting over aggressive," Schumacher said. "I heard him saying something to Dustin that it was the adrenaline. Those things happen. He'll learn next time. You can do that against weaker clubs, but a team that is on the ball, we basically gave them an out there after having a really nice hit."
TMP used four different pitchers in the doubleheader. The starters lasted five innings apiece, and sophomore relievers pitched the last two of each game.
Senior Shane Zimmerman (0-1) started Game 1. He struck out seven batters, but allowed two runs on two hits and four walks.
Junior Cameron Brin (0-1) took the mound in Game 2 and struggled early, allowing five walks in the first two innings, which helped Scott City take a 3-1 lead.
However, he settled down and posted the final state line: three runs, all earned, on two hits and five walks while striking out three.
One reliever stole the show. Sophomore Liam Stults pitched two hitless innings in Game 2, striking out three and walking one.
Sophomore reliever Kameron Schmidt had a decent night, but allowed the game-winning run in the seventh of Game 1.
He also surrendered two hits and two walks while striking out two.
"We had some walks, but that's something the more we get into the season, they'll get that worked out," Schumacher said.