Seymour High School’s varsity baseball team needed a quality win.
Quite frankly, the Tigers just needed a win.
It helped Friday when that 1-0 victory came on the road against a strong Class 1 squad.
Behind a seven-inning, 94-pitch, nine-strikeout effort of senior hurler Brock Pearce, Seymour defeated the host Billings Wildcats by a single run, improving the team’s spring record to 5-10 as Billings saw its mark fall to 8-6.
“This probably is our best win of the spring,” Tiger head coach Jason Duey said. “Billings is a solid Class 1 team. In the fall, they run-ruled us ... beat us pretty handily.
“They’ve got a winning record and some quality wins, including one over (Class 4) Forsyth. We needed a win, any win, heading into this game, and it was nice for us to win a close one.”
The victory came behind the strong right arm of Pearce, who threw 61 strikes and only 33 balls. The 6’2” standout allowed only two hits, a single and a double, while striking out nine and walking just two.
“We were trying to keep Brock below 75 pitches so he could throw (on Tuesday) against Fordland, but we felt that we just had to stay with him,” Duey explained. “This was Brock’s best outing of the season, without a doubt. He threw really well and just pounded the strike zone.”
Billings’ only chance to score a run came in the fourth inning when leadoff hitter Brian Terry, who reached on a walk, was thrown out at home plate by Tiger junior Bryson Benson when Terry attempted to score on a single by Wildcat pitcher Hayden Fender.
“That was just a great throw by Bryson,” Duey said. “He made a great play, and it saved us a run. In the end, that play played a huge role in this win.”
Seymour’s lone run came in the third frame.
After a single by freshman Brayden Baker, junior Caleb Cook reached on a walk. Sophomore Cohen Koop laid down a sacrifice bunt, giving the Tigers runners and second and third with one out.
Freshman Luke Rasmussen then was hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases, bringing senior standout Nathaniel Hosiner to the plate.
His scorched line drive deflected off of the defender’s glove at third base, caroming into left field. Baker easily scored, but Cook was thrown out at home plate.
“That may be the hardest-hit ball Nathaniel has had this spring,” Duey said. “It was a bit of bad luck that Caleb was thrown out at the plate, but that one run proven valuable.”
The Tigers managed just three hits in the game.
Two came from Baker and Hosiner in the third inning.
The other was a sixth-inning single by Pearce.
“It wasn’t an offensive shootout,” Duey said, smiling.
But it was a quality win.
“Give credit to their pitcher, Hayden Fender, who was the hard-luck loser in this one,” Duey noted. “He only gave up three hits and didn’t walk anyone. He got through seven full innings on only 82 pitches. (Fender) certainly pitched well enough to win.”
The victory was Pearce’s third this spring.
“He’s our No. 1 pitcher,” Duey said. “Anytime Brock is on the mound, we’ve got a chance to beat anyone.”
In home action Monday, April 19, Seymour opened last week with a 9-4 defeat against Norwood, a Summit Conference opponent.
“We had plenty of chances to score runs in this game,” Duey said. “We had 10 hits, including three doubles. We got on base four times on walks. But we just didn’t score enough runs against an opponent who maximized their opportunities to score.”
Norwood led 3-0 after the first inning, then the Tigers pushed through a pair of runs in the second frame to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Pirates added a run in the fourth inning.
Seymour then scored a run in the bottom of the fifth, cutting Norwood’s lead to 4-3.
Then the wheels fell off.
Four Tiger fielding errors aided the Pirate cause as Norwood scored five times in the final two frames. The Tigers managed a single seventh-inning run and fell 9-4.
“Not our best effort,” Duey summarized.
Taking the pitching loss was Hosiner, who went 5-1/3 innings before reaching the 105-pitch limit. He allowed four runs (only two earned) on three hits, striking out a season-high 11 while walking four.
Benson pitched the final 1-1/3 innings and allowed five runs on five hits with a pair of walks.
“Nathaniel pitched well enough to win,” Duey said. “We just didn’t support him in the field or at the plate.”
Offensively, Benson paced the Tiger offense with a double and a single, while Cook and Pearce each connected for a pair of singles.
Benson and Cook scored runs.
Hosiner had a double and scored once.
Sophomore Lawson Wright also doubled and had one run batted in (RBI).
Koop and junior Payton Bryant each singled and added one RBI.
Junior Canaan Park scored a run.
“We left 11 on base,” Duey said. “We had a lot of base runners in this one ... we just didn’t score them.”
This Friday and Saturday, the Tigers are playing at the Neelyville Invitational in the Missouri Bootheel, where Seymour is the No. 7 seed in the eight-school tourney.
In first-round action, Seymour takes on the tournament’s No. 2 seed, Thomas A. Kelly High School of Benton, a perennial state power.
Game time is 5 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, the Tigers will play twice, Duey said.