EL DORADO, Kan.—Maize South had plenty of time to think about the 1-run loss in its last game against Mulvane. After a 10-day wait, the Mavericks took the frustration out on El Dorado, rolling in both games of the doubleheader 13-1, and 16-0.
“We haven’t played for 10 days so it was hard to figure out what we were going to get,” said Maize South coach Chad Christensen, “especially coming off what we felt was a letdown in our second game against Mulvane when we lost 4-3. The kids have been focused. They got themselves in fastball counts and had timely hits.”
The Mavericks started a little slow in the first game having not seen live pitching since March 26. El Dorado blanked Maize South in the top of the first and plated a run in the bottom half to give the Wildcats their only lead of the night.
It didn’t last long.
In the top of the second Maize South got out the bats and plated 3 to go up 3-1. The Mavericks added a pair in the sixth, but the game was still in doubt 5-1 going into the seventh.
After six innings of remembering how to pick up a pitch, Maize South put the game away, plating 8 runs, most with two out, to slam the door shut in the 13-1 win.
“That’s the approach we’ve tried to come with, is working ourselves into hitter’s counts,” said Christensen. “I think a lot of those two-out timely hits we had were in a hitter’s situation, fastball counts and kids were sitting on it and driving the ball where it was pitched.”
Wesley Phillips did a ton of damage for the Mavericks in the first game, getting 4 RBIs with two hits. Aaron Cooper drove in 3 runs on two hits for Maize South as well.
After ripping off 8 runs in the seventh of the first game, the momentum carried straight into the second, where the Mavericks pounded the ball in a 16-0 four-inning shutout.
“It’s honestly the best feeling just to know, not only are you getting hits but your team is getting hits behind you,” said Maize South senior Taner Thurman. “You’re just all together and attacking the baseball.”
It was Thurman’s turn to drive in 4 runs on two hits in the second game, including a 3-RBI triple on a line drive to the power alley in right-center that bounced off the wall on a hop.
While the offense was running laps around the bases, Stefan Bray was on the mound suffocating the El Dorado offense. Bray went all four innings, striking out five, and allowing just one hit.
“It makes my job easy,” said Christensen. “It’s a good feeling that these kids have bought in to what we want to do in the program and by buying in they are seeing the end result.”
Many of the kids had the unique opportunity to be the entire tradition, playing for a brand new team at a brand new school. But in the third year of existence for Maize South, the baseball program is developing a shape, built out of a formless clean slate.
“We’ve cleared a hurdle as a program, being able to put teams away like we did tonight,” said Christensen. “In years past, that’s been an issue for us. We’ve got some senior leadership up at the plate. I think all the kids feel confident in their approach tonight.”