WEBB CITY, Mo. — Coming off a tough loss to Joplin, the Webb City baseball team didn’t need any extra rejuvenation than it already had.
The Cardinals (11-2) bounced back in a big way, scoring six runs in the second inning en route to a 7-4 triumph over Nixa on Saturday at Chuck Barnes Field.
“We weren’t really happy after Thursday,” Webb City coach Flave Darnell said. “Joplin played well in that game. It was good to come out against a really good Nixa team. … Our kids like to play. They came out and showed some fire, and had a lot of competitiveness. It was really good to see, especially on such a cold day.”
Webb City fell behind 1-0 after the opening frame, but that hole evaporated quickly in the second.
Cole Gayman sparked the big inning with a leadoff walk, while Aidan Brock followed with a single to left to put the Cardinals in prime position to strike.
And they did.
Eli Goddard laid down a bunt and reached first on a throwing error, which allowed Gayman to come across to tie the game. After Jeremiah Leaming went down on strikes, Eric Fitch dropped a safety squeeze and reached on an RBI single to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
“We have really stressed that we have to be able to bunt,” Darnell said. “It was good to see that we were able to execute and get the bunt down, put a little pressure on the defense.”
Webb City opened its lead to 3-1 following a bases loaded walk to Shane Noel, scoring Goddard. Matt Woodmansee cleared the bases when he hit a comebacker to the pitcher, but an errant throw led to Fitch, Parker and Noel all coming around to score to push the Cardinals out to 6-1.
Nixa and Webb City exchanged tallies over the middle innings to make the score 7-2 heading into the seventh. Devrin Weathers doubled to deep right-center field and reached home after an RBI fielder’s choice by Parker.
The Eagles cut the margin to three with a two-run seventh thanks to a two-RBI three-bagger off the bat of Jaret Nelson, but Noel yielded a fly out to right field to end it.
Fitch, the winning pitcher, allowed only two earned runs through three innings of work for the Cardinals. The righty struck out five batters. Noel followed in relief, tossing four innings of two-run ball while fanning two.
“I was really happy with Eric’s start,” Darnell said. “He looked really, really good. He got maybe tired towards the end, but he looked really good. Shane came in and was throwing strikes. He is a really good athlete. It’s nice to have both of those types of athletes on the mound because they can field their position and do some things athletically that helps with teams like Nixa that can run.”
Webb City tallied five hits, and capitalized on Nixa’s four errors. Woodmansee finished 1-for-3 with a game-high three RBI. Parker, Noel, Goddard and Fitch accounted for the rest of the team’s run production with RBIs apiece.
Hardy Dougan took the loss for Nixa (10-2). The Eagles amassed six hits, led by Sam Russo with three of those.
The Cardinals travel to Carthage at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
“Carthage is playing really well,” Darnell said. “There is really no celebration, so to speak. Carthage is playing super well. They won their own tournament, and then we have Ozark on Thursday. Colgan on Friday. We have a busy week next week. It’s going to be good.”