On separate fields of the Frontenac Sports Complex, Frontenac softball and Frontenac baseball opened their seasons Thursday evening with offensive pyrotechnics that led to run-rule games against cross-state rival Liberal, Mo.

On separate fields of the Frontenac Sports Complex, Frontenac softball and Frontenac baseball opened their seasons Thursday evening with offensive pyrotechnics that led to run-rule games against cross-state rival Liberal, Mo.

Frontenac softball parlayed two runs in the first, five in the second and 10 in the third into a 17-0 rout of the Bulldogs and Frontenac baseball took advantage of six Liberal errors and pushed across six runs in the second and two apiece in the third, fourth and fifth innings en route to a 12-2 win.

“We swung the bats really well,” Frontenac head softball coach Cassie Buche said. “One of the biggest challenges I had for the girls today was just discipline at the plate. We didn’t know what they had pitching wise but we talked about not swinging at balls above our hands and hitting the ball hard down on the ground and hitting line drives. Mostly, we did that. When we did hit balls in the air, they were long fly balls right when we needed them.”

Frontenac softball created the slogan UNFINISHED BUSINESS for its 2012 season, a reference to its state runner-up finish last season in Class 3A.

“Every day in practice, we talk about how we have to continue to get better and how that target is on our back because of the success we had last year and we can’t ever let down,” Buche said. “That was the test tonight, to see how our girls would show up tonight and they showed up both offensively and defensively. Sam (Bonner) did a great job behind the plate, Lindsey (Gorham) threw well for her first game and that’s what you have to do with the talent and the athleticism that we have. We have to show up every game and continue to get better.”

Liberal only connected on two singles and Frontenac made no errors.

Meanwhile, Frontenac took advantage of a pair of Liberal errors and several walks — Rachel Amershek hit a two-run double in the second and in the offensive deluge of the third inning, Jennifer Long smacked a two-run double, Libby Warrick hit a three-run single and advanced two bases on errors, and Nayna Fields hit a walk-off three-run triple. Sam Bonner also drove in Warrick on a triple, just one of a few line-drive smashes hit by Frontenac batters.

Amershek and Warrick each led Frontenac with four RBI and Fields added three on her game-ending hit. Warrick made her season debut in the first game of the year rather than her return during the middle of last season.

“She’s a huge addition,” Buche said of Warrick. “Offensively, she’s jumped into that 5 spot right behind Rachel. She hits for power, she’s a good baserunner and defensively, she’s got a strong arm. It’s nice to be able to start with her and be able to continue to get better with her in the lineup from the beginning and not having to figure out a way for her to be in the lineup because she needs to be in the lineup.”
Pittsburg transfer Blake Vail hit and pitched well in his Frontenac debut and junior Matt Standlee had a balanced game at the plate and on the mound.

“We pitched it well,” Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan said. “We had Blake Vail and Matt Standlee, who both came out and threw nice. I would have liked to have thrown a few more guys but when it’s five innings, we didn’t have any chance to go deeper in our pitching staff. That’s a concern. But, that will come. We only had one groundball in the infield and we had some fly balls we made plays on. Overall, I was very pleased for the first game.”

Standlee went 3-for-4 at the plate with a single, a double and a triple; he spread out three RBI over three hits. On the mound, relieving Vail in the third, Standlee allowed two runs (both unearned) and matched seven Ks against two walks.

In his first start for the Raiders, Vail struck out five, walked none and gave up no runs on three hits in two innings. At the plate, Vail went 1-4 with a two-run triple in the second that was part of a six-run inning for the Raiders.

In addition, Bryan Wade and Gus Brunetti each accounted for two hits.

“I thought we came out and hit the ball real well tonight,” Sullivan said. “Obviously, it was a concern. You’re always worried about seeing the first live pitching from the opponent. I was pleased with the bats tonight. I thought up and down the lineup we had guys come up and hit the ball real hard.”

During a preseason gathering of the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League coaches, Sullivan expressed concern over the new bats used this season in high school baseball. However, on the first night of the season, Frontenac (third place in Class 3A last year) belted out 10 hits and plated 12 runs.

“It is what it is,” Sullivan said. “I felt there were some balls that would have carried a little bit further with the old bats but, hey, you know, we’ll take what we got. We hit the middle of the baseball well tonight and we drove the ball. We didn’t pop up a lot and we hit the ball hard. It will be equal across the board and I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference tonight.”

Frontenac baseball and softball host Riverton on Monday for CNC League doubleheaders.

Frontenac softball 17, Liberal (Mo.) 0 (3 innings)
LHS    00  0    —  0   2  3
FHS    25(10) — 17 12 0
Whitlea Ulrich and McKenna Higgins. Lindsey Gorham and Sam Bonner. WP — Gorham. LP — Ulrich. 2B — Gorham, Rachel Amershek, Jennifer Long. 3B — Bonner, Nayna Fields. SB — Amershek, Alex White. CS — Hanna Beckwith.
Frontenac JV 4, Liberal 3

Frontenac baseball 12, Liberal 2 (5 innings)
LHS    002 00 —   2  4  6
FHS    062 22 — 12 10 2
Austin Spivey, Trevor Harvey (3) and Dylan Massa. Blake Vail, Matt Standlee (3) and Bryan Wade. WP — Standlee. LP — Spivey. 2B — Standlee, Gus Brunetti. 3B — Standlee, Vail. CS — Wade.
Frontenac JV 7, Liberal 2