FRONTENAC — The Frontenac Raiders had to wait 23 hours to open their season after their field was ruled unplayable on Thursday.
Well, the Raiders made it worth their wait, scoring 21 runs on 26 hits during a doubleheader sweep of the Labette County Grizzlies, 9-4 and 12-2, on Friday.
Eleven of the 26 hits went for extra bases and the Raiders spread the wealth across their lineup.
"It was great," Frontenac head coach Cassie Buche said. "It wasn't just one person that you could say was doing it. Everybody in our lineup did a great job tonight. The young kids stepped up. We had a lot of extra-base hits. We just hit the ball hard tonight and that's great to see."
The Raiders scored seven unanswered in the first game to break open a 2-all score and then scored 12 straight to force the run-rule after five in the second game.
In the five-run fifth of the first game, freshmen Kaylee Harper and Gwen Smalley announced their presence on the high school level with their bats.
Harper knocked a two-run triple and Smalley did that one better with a two-run shot over the center field fence, her first career homer in her first career game.
Frontenac assistant Francis Buche wanted to make sure the freshmen made the paper, because, in his words, "They did a great job."
In the second game, Frontenac trailed 2-0 after a shaky top of the first but responded with four in the first, three in the second and five in the fourth.
Rachel Amershek and Macie Broyles hit RBI doubles in the first, Broyles' two runs, and pinch hitter Kylie Baima delivered a huge two-run double in the fourth.
Emily Merando reached four times on bunt singles in the nightcap and undoubtedly, she provided the stuff of nightmares for the Grizzlies.
"I just moved her to the left side in the winter," Cassie Buche said. "I just told her, 'We have to have a slapper in the lineup, No. 1 and you have all the skills that you need to do it, No. 2.' She's really, you know, learned how to do it, she's grasped the idea of what we want her to do. When she gets on, it's . . . kind of like when Jennifer Long used to run the bases. She's kind of like that."
With multiple freshmen and sophomores and new varsity players in their first varsity games, Frontenac made a few mistakes.
"We knew we were going to make mistakes on the bases," Cassie Buche said. "We knew we were going to boot the ball a couple times and that comes with youth and inexperience. That's one of the reasons we needed to play. The young kids needed to see the pace of the game and needed to see that decisions have to be made very quickly. We'll get better at that. Those things are fixable. We'll work on those things and hopefully, game-by-game, those things will get better."
Overall, Frontenac seemed ecstatic about its Day 1 performance.
"I couldn't be more proud of the kids," Buche said. "I thought both our pitchers (Taylor Smith in Game 1, Kennedi Fields in Game 2) and Macie did a great job behind the plate. Our outfield's brand new. Emily and Gwen have never played outfield before, Kayla's (Kayla Meyer) a freshman and I thought between the three of them, they did a great job keeping the ball in front and making great plays just knowing what to do with the ball. I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Frontenac (2-0) opens Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League play on Monday against St. Mary's Colgan.
RAIDERS 9, GRIZZLIES 4
LC 101 002 0 — 4 11 1
FRO 200 250 X — 9 12 0
Aubri Kimbrough and Molly Stevenson. Taylor Smith and Macie Broyles. WP: Smith. LP: Kimbrough. HR: Gwen Smalley. 3B: Kaylee Harper. 2B: Rachel Stevenson; Kennedi Fields, Rachel Amershek, Haley Wilson. SH: Taya Leech. SB: Emily Merando, Amershek, Julia Falletti. LOB: LC 10, FRO 5.
RAIDERS 12, GRIZZLIES 2
LC 200 00 — 2 1 0
FRO 430 5X — 12 14 0
Aubri Kimbrough, Darcy Cole and Molly Stevenson. Kennedi Fields and Macie Broyles. WP: Fields. LP: Kimbrough. 3B: Haley Wilson. 2B: Rachel Amershek 2, Broyles, Kylie Baima, Fields. SB: Rachel Stevenson; Kaylee Harper. CS: Emily Merando. LOB: LC 3, FRO 6.