Cougar Baseball Squad on a Roll
It's been a big week for the Rector Cougars as they played some of the best competitive baseball of the season over the past week. The team now stands 8-1 overall and 3-0 in conference.
The Cougars posted a big conference win over East Poinsett County, 2-1, Monday when they traveled to Lepanto. "This was a big conference game for us and we knew we needed this win," coach Robert Dorman said. "We also knew we were facing their ace Clay Malone; he throws strikes and throws them well."
Sam Westbrook started on the mound, pitching six innings, giving up no hits, striking out eight and giving up one unearned run. In the bottom of the seventh the Cougars were up 2-1, "Westbrook got tired and the tying run was on second and the winning run was on first with no outs," Dorman said. "So Hunter McNeely went in for the relief. He got their lead hitter to ground out, which sent the tying to third and the winner to second. We intentionally walked Malone and got the clean up." McNeely got the save, one intentional walk and one strikeout.
"This game was the best I've ever seen Westbrook throw. He threw his heart out and really stepped up. McNeely did a tremendous job as a sophomore. I can't say enough about these guys."
Offensively, Westbrook was 2 for 4 with a double, a run scored and three bases stolen. Lawson Ford, Danny Hager and Austin Clairday all got a hit apiece. "Hager knocked in the go-ahead run in the fifth," Dorman said. "Case Watson, our second baseman, played really good defense. With runners on the corners, he dove in to catch a hit down the middle of first and second, tagging the first base guy out. I was really proud of the way our guys played."
The Cougars played visiting Senath Saturday, losing 12-3. "This is a game we put on the schedule to see where we measure up; Senath-Hornersville is one of the top teams in Missouri," Dorman said. "We had the lead 3-2 in the fourth, were down 4-3 in the sixth and then Senath scored seven in the sixth and things got away from us, but I was very proud of the way the guys played and it was good for the boys to see how well they could play."
Ford started on the mound, throwing five innings, giving up five hits, striking out four, walking four and giving up three earned runs. "He threw a tremendous game," Dorman said. McNeely came in for relief, pitching one inning, giving up two hits, and no runs.
Offensively, Kade Scott was 1 for 3 with two RBIs and Westbrook was 1 for 3.
"We did a good job on our plays and we gave them a run for their money," Dorman said.
The Cougars were on the road at Corning, Friday, March 25, where they pounded the Bobcats 12-2.
Westbrook started on the mound, pitching two innings, giving up no hits and no runs. Brian Hufty pitched two innings, giving up three hits, striking out one, and giving up one earned run. McNeely pitched two innings, striking out two and allowed one hit. Hager threw the seventh, striking out one and giving up one hit.
Offensively, Hufty was 2 for 4 with a triple and 2 RBIs. Sam Simmons was 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored. Garrett Buck was 1 for 4 with a homerun and 3 RBIs.
"I was really, really happy with this game. It was the first complete game we've played this season," Dorman said. "We hit well, we pitched well and the scoreboard showed it. This is exactly what I wanted to see from our guys coming off spring break."
A full seven-inning junior varsity game took place later that day against Riverside, resulting in the Cougar jayvee team winning 5-4.
"I saw good pitching from Sam Simmons and Kirk Beshears. Hitting and pitching was really good and it was promising to see from the younger guys."
The Cougars traveled to Riverside last night, where they will seek another conference win. "Riverside is really good," Dorman said. "They went to the state finals last year and haven't lost much. We are going to have to play a complete game to win."