FRONTENAC — Two games, two comeback wins for the Frontenac Raider baseball team Thursday night to start the season.

One featured a rally of two runs and two extra innings, 4-3, while the other required the Raiders to dig themselves out of a five-run hole in a 13-9 victory over the Labette County Grizzlies.

Playing their season opener at home, the Raiders found themselves trailing by one after a Martin Woldum run off of Kyle O’Connor’s hit came in the top of the second inning in game one.

“I’m very proud of our guys. The way they came back in both games,” Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan said. “They didn’t panic. They just took one inning at a time.”

The Raiders found a way to respond after having two batters walked. A sacrifice bunt by John Barrows placed Tanner Edwards in scoring position before a James Brooks hit to left field brought in the tying run.

Jake Mattox of the Grizzlies scored off a high single by Westin Myers in the top of the third and the Grizzlies added another run in the sixth to take a two run lead.

That’s when the Raiders took over.

A run by Brooks after a hit by Ethan Powell eventually led to the Raiders scoring the tying run and force extra innings.

Neither team could find the game changing run in the eighth but the Grizzlies came close to taking the lead with the bases loaded before Barrows made a jumping catch for the out and ending the top of the eighth.

A walk-off run by Powell gave the Raiders the victory in Game 1.
Caleb Spangler was the starting pitcher for the Raiders in Game 1, while Chase Dodsworth was the starter for Labette County.

“I thought Caleb Spangler did a great job on the mound. He gave us some really strong innings. Tanner Edwards then came in and did what we needed him to do to get the victory,” Sullivan said.

The second game did not get off to the most ideal start for the Raiders.

The Grizzlies wasted no time, scoring off a high single to deep center field before doubling the lead with Austin Yanez scoring the run.
Zack Stewart scored off a single by Braden Anderson and Yanez was walked to load the bases in the top of the third inning.

This led to a changing at the mound with Brett Macary being replaced by Powell.

The Grizzlies proceeded to score two more runs off a single and the Grizzlies led 5-0.

Frontenac responded in the bottom of the second with a run by Barrows.

An error gave way to a Labette run by Stewart in the top of the third.

Frontenac would then turn the whole tide by scoring nine unanswered runs.

After getting a run in third, the Raiders exploded in the fourth, with Macary’s line drive enabling two runs.

This all followed with Keaton Bolinger and Macary scoring off a grounder by Josh Book and before long, the Raiders were in front for the first time, 7-6.

Runs by Tyler Randall, Bolinger and Caleb Spangler extened the lead to 10-6 before the fourth inning came to a close.

However, the Grizzlies weren’t finished yet, scoring three runs in the fifth and not allowing a single run by the Raiders in the same inning, heading into the sixth with a one-run lead, 10-9.

But in the bottom of the sixth, the Raiders took advantage of an error, with Barrows scoring a run.

“I’m proud of the efforts. We have one guy who played varsity baseball last year and some here and there and to see them in this position where they had to battle back in the first game of the season is a good sign, but I also had to tell them afterward that we don’t want to make that a habit. We don’t want to get ourselves in a hole,” Sullivan said.

A base hit by Tanner Smith and Turner extended the lead to 12-9 before a walk by Spangler made it a four-run advantage and Smith closed out the game on the mound to deny the Grizzlies a comeback.

“I thought we had a good approach at the plate. I thought we were comfortable in the second game,” Sullivan said. “Our timing was better and our focus was up. We ran some outs in the bases but we’ll learn form that. Our pitching was great and Tanner Smith did a good job of closing in the second game and Powell did great as well.”

Frontenac (2-0) opens Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League play Monday night against St. Mary's Colgan.