CHEROKEE — Quality and pitching and timely hitting helped boost the Southeast High School baseball team to a 8-4 win over Liberal on Thursday, but the opposite was true for the softball team, which lost 12-1.
The Lancers’ 8-4 win was jumpstarted by five runs in the first inning which gave them a four-run lead, protected by a quality pitching performance from the starter Caleb Fenimore.
“Overall, I thought it was good baseball by both teams, Liberal is a good team,” SHS head coach David Dainty said. “Caleb Fenimore came out and threw strikes. We played good defense behind him and had a very good first inning, exploding for five runs.”
Southeast's five-run first inning came after the Bulldogs scored one in the top of the first to make the score 5-1.
The inning began with Triston Gardner getting plunked on the leg to get on base, before moving up into scoring position after stealing a base.
Cole Burdette quickly drove Gardner in on a single to right field, but was thrown out attempting to steal second to record the first out.
Jake Burns worked a walk out of the three hole and a pair of singles off the bats of Colton Trejo and Brett Malle loaded the bases for Dylan Wilson.
The Bulldogs pitched Wilson carefully, as he drew a walk which allowed Burns to jog across the plate.
In the following at-bat, Trejo took off from third on the pitch and scored easily with C.J. Peacock dropping down a bunt to complete the suicide squeeze.
With Malle and Wilson both in scoring position, Tanner Craddock came through with a two-out hit to drive in both runs.
Southeast added two more runs in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 7-1.
The inning was highlighted by an RBI triple into the right-center field gap off the bat of Burdette, which scored Gardner who got on with a single.
Burdette later came into score himself on a defensive miscue.
Fenimore sat down the first batter of the fifth inning, but the Bulldogs got the momentum going with a baserunner in the second at-bat, before going on to score twice to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Liberal loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of two-out base hits, before Fenimore handed the ball over to Bryce Petersen out of the bullpen.
The Bulldogs plated the runners on second and third with a single, but couldn’t capitalize any further.
One more run for Liberal came in the fifth inning, but the Lancers got it right back in the bottom half of the frame to regain the four-run lead at 8-4.
Trejo bounced into a fielder’s choice, but came around to score after stealing second and third before crossing the plate on a productive groundout by Peterson.
Burdette was the offensive catalyst, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs a run scored and a stolen base.
Craddock also had a good day at the plate, driving in two runs on one hit.
Fenimore earned the win on the bump with three earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts through four and two-thirds innings.
The offensive success didn’t translate to the softball field for Southeast, which lost 12-1 in five innings.
“Well, we faced a good pitcher,” SHS head coach Mike Bowman said. “We’re still making some errors on defense that we need to cut down, we’re not hitting on cylinders and we’re not hitting as a team. We have two or three players in the lineup who is hitting, but we’re not coming together. We’re not playing our best ball, but I have faith in the girls to keep working. Work on the mistakes we’re making, become more knowledgeable about the game and know what to do in certain situations. We’re going to be fine.”
Jordie Higgins, Katie Bitner and Wyntr Jacobs all combined to record the Lancers’ three hits on the game, while Jaiden Gregory drove in the run.
Southeast baseball team will be in Jayhawk-Linn at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, while the softball team will be in Neodesha.