Baserunning hurts Wildcats in district loss

By John Rohlf, Sports Editor
Posted 5/17/23

Wright City was unable to claw out of an early deficit and overcome baserunning mistakes in their district semifinal loss Monday. 

Wright City (15-8) fell to St. Charles West 4-3 in the …

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Baserunning hurts Wildcats in district loss


Wright City was unable to claw out of an early deficit and overcome baserunning mistakes in their district semifinal loss Monday. 

Wright City (15-8) fell to St. Charles West 4-3 in the Class 4, District 6 semifinals. After falling behind 4-0 after two innings, Wright City scored one run in the fifth inning and two runs in the sixth inning to pull within one run. The Wildcats were unable to find the key hit or key play to tie Monday’s district semifinal.

“It’s playoff baseball. And I knew our guys were ready,” Wright City baseball coach Ryan Raterman said. “We just got ready too late. When we scratched a run, then we’re like ok, they’re not Superman. They are human and we can score…So we kept chipping away and then we had a chance.” 

The Wildcats struggled early offensively, with only two batters reaching base in the first four innings. Duan McRoberts reached base on a leadoff walk in the first inning. After stealing second base, McRoberts was thrown out trying to steal third base. Jake Mitts singled with two outs in the second inning but was stranded at first base. 

Before the Wildcats took their turn to bat in the second inning, they were down four runs. St. Charles West scored a pair of runs in the first inning on Brenan Goering’s RBI groundout and Kyle Quinn’s RBI single. Goering plated two runs in the second inning on a two-out single. After surrendering the four early runs, Wright City senior Hayden Waters shut out the Warriors for the remainder of the game. 

“He’s a senior,” Raterman said. “He got walked off against them last year so his juices were probably flowing. He was living up a little bit and that’s why they were barreling it. And he calmed his nerves and lived low and for sure, gave us a chance to win. We played really good defense behind him.” 

Wright City’s offense woke up in the fifth inning. The Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs. Bryce Williams was hit by a pitch and Jake Mitts walked to lead off the inning. Zach reached on a bunt single to load the bases. With no outs, Micah Boeckman missed on a bunt attempt and Jack Goughenour was tagged out after getting in a rundown between third base and home plate. Boeckman reached on an infield single but Mitts was thrown out trying to score from second on the single. Rodriguez scored with two outs after Boeckman was caught in a rundown. Both runners advanced a base safely. 

Wright City put the first two runners on base in the sixth inning, trailing 4-1. McRoberts reached on an infield single and later stole second base. Moore reached on a walk. With Waters at the plate, Moore attempted to steal second base while McRoberts stayed at second base. McRoberts got caught in a rundown and was tagged out on the play. Moore advanced to second. 

“There’s a way we run the bases,” Raterman said. “We have four different styles. And I didn’t have our aggressive style on. We have all the way from an aggressive style like go ahead and run into outs cause you’re up by seven and then we have station to station cold if you will. And I did not have anything crazy on. We just ran into outs. Unfortunately, we missed some signs too and it is what it is.” 

Later in the inning, Waters walked. Moore and Waters were safe on a double steal to put runners on second and third. Sophomore Jake Orf pulled Wright City within one run on a one-out single that scored Moore and Waters. He advanced to second on the throw. 

“I don’t think he thinks much when he’s up at the plate,” Raterman said. “I think he’s just see ball, hit ball. He plays a lot of really competitive Select ball in the summer time. He’s just bred for those moments. That was huge. And we just couldn’t scratch that one across just to tie it to give us a chance to walk it off.”

Williams lined out to right field on a 3-1 count and Mitts grounded out to second to end the threat. 

Wright City had one last chance in the seventh inning. Rodriguez led off the inning with a sharp single into center field but was thrown out trying to steal second base. 

“We just have to get him into scoring position without giving up an out,” Raterman said. “And hopefully we can sac him over and then give them an out. It’s just what we’ve done all year. The one throw he puts on the dot and gets us out. And they celebrated because he didn’t do it all day. That’s not what lost us the game. We left a lot of runs on the basepaths early and ran into outs.” 

Boeckman and pinch hitter Blaine Niemann were retired to end the game. 

Wright City finishes the season with 15 wins, including a stretch of winning 15 out of 16 games. The graduating senior class finished with a winning record every season of their high school baseball careers. 

“We’ve done a lot of good things with this senior class and I’m proud to have coached those guys,” Raterman said.