Wet conditions puts a damper on season opener

By Christopher Tenpenny

The 2022 baseball season began much like the 2021 season ended, cold and rainy. The Harrisonville baseball team kicked off the season with a 5-0 loss to William Chrisman in the first round of the Chrisman Truman Tournament Monday in Independence.

“Last year’s district game was played in worse conditions than this and then to start the season with rain was not ideal,” Harrisonville head coach Dave Hix said. “Can we just get some good weather? I don’t know, maybe it’s me and I’m jinxed.”

Senior Drew Appleman started for the Cats and despite the wet conditions, Appleman was able to stay around the strike zone. During four innings, he surrendered zero runs.

“I thought Drew did pretty well,” Hix said. “We were keeping track of first-pitch strikes and he was around 50-50. When he gets ahead, he does really well. When he gets behind 1-0, 2-0 he can struggle a little bit. He pitched out of a few jams. He walked the first guy, balked and then a passed ball. That guy didn’t score. That’s a positive.”

Sophomore Cam Loeffel made his pitching debut in the fifth. Loeffel ran into some trouble and Aaron Brines came into relive him. Five runs were scored in the inning.

Much like the Cats had their ace on the mound, William Chrisman featured its star pitcher. The William Chrisman ace went six innings and shutout Harrisonville.

“That’s a pretty good pitcher over there. We hit him. I just thought if we could get him off the mound, we’d have a chance.”

While the scoreboard said zero runs, the Cats were able to put some solid swings on the ball and had runners on base. The best scoring chance came with Jake Goss on second and Tucker Vassar on first and nobody out. Appleman came to the plate and ripped a ball into the outfield but it found the outfielders glove and the Cats were unable to score in the inning.

Hix said overall he is pleased with the way his team handled the first game.

“We’re going to try to make things happen and stay aggressive,” Hix said. “We hit some balls hard today, but didn’t come through. It’s early in the season and we’ve got some things to work on, but the way they went about their business today was good.”

The Cats continue on in the tournament and were expected to play St. Michael Tuesday, weather permitting, followed by a game today against Lincoln College Prep.

The rain has pushed the tournament back a few day, but Hix said he and his team are just excited to playing someone with a different colored uniform on.

“It feels good to get games in,” Hix said. “We know some things we need to work on, some things we didn’t get done in practices previously. We got a ways to go, but it’s a start. We are right around where I thought we’d be.”

The Cats home opener is scheduled for March 31 against Pleasant Hill.