BUENA VISTA – Declared the “home” team, Class 2A Meeker at least had that much of a sporting chance Friday afternoon on neutral, albeit fiercely frigid ground against Bayfield, ranked No. 9 in 3A.
One pitch, however, showed how short-lived that advantage actually was.
Plunking BHS leadoff man Nic Twedt in the lower back at exactly 1:51 p.m., MHS starter Ryan Sullivan never steadied and was pulled off the mound after recording just one out. He also beaned Caden Wood and Cody Ross, plus walked Lance Mazur, Jackson Queen and Dante Candelaria. All told, Sullivan took the loss by surrendering seven runs while giving up one hit, Tavian Box’s two-RBI double to left-center that plated Noah Chamblee (aboard via fielder’s choice) and Queen.
Relief choice Skylar Browning managed to get the Cowboys out of the first, but not before giving up another run – Andy Monger, via a two-out Wood double into left.
Gifted an eight-run lead, Queen had virtually zero problems blanking MHS in the bottom of the inning. By the time Bayfield had finished batting in the top of the second, at 2:51 p.m., the margin had grown to double figures. It would remain unchecked going into the third after Chamblee gave up a seeing-eye single into right field, but struck out the side in relief of Queen (W; IP, 0 BB, 3 K) as head coach Bert Miller and his staff limited their hurlers’ exposure in the elements.
Despite persistent overcast skies, swirling light snow, a temperature never getting out of the low 30s and wind gusts often exceeding 25 miles per hour, the Wolverines made do and made off with a five-inning, 11-1 win at the Buena Vista River Park diamond. One Meeker hitter who struck out, returned to his team’s dugout saying he couldn’t see the pitch because of a flake flying into his eye.
Starring in an unfamiliar role, Chamblee ended up pitching 3.2 inning. He needed just three pitches to complete one full frame, and totaled five strikeouts while allowing no more hits. Offensively he’d go 1-for-4 with two runs scored, plus a stolen base.
Box would double again and also walk once, finishing 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Twedt ended up 2-3 with a run, an RBI and two stolen bases. Monger drove in three runs and scored once himself while finishing 2-3. Mazur and Candelaria each drew three walks against Meeker’s pitching, and combined for three runs scored as each officially ended up 0-for-0.
Reserve Cole Wagner would also be hit by a pitch as BHS totaled four HBPs and eight walks.
Dropping to 2-2 with the loss, the Cowboys then fell 16-8 later on Friday to 2A No. 2 BVHS, as the Demons (5-1 overall) prepared to face Bayfield (6-2) on Saturday afternoon. Meeker, meanwhile, was to meet Monte Vista at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Results were unavailable at press time.