WATHENA – Two strong innings at the plate helped propel the Atchison Senior A’s past Silver Lake on Friday night, and into the championship of the Doniphan County Tournament.
The A’s scored three in the second and three again in the fourth, eventually winning 7-3.
Augie Scholz got the start on the mound for the A’s and gave up one run in the first inning, but it might have been worse had Atchison not picked up a couple outs on the base paths.
Scholz issued a leadoff walk, but after a pitch to the second batter, A’s catcher Hunter Ostertag shot a throw to first, catching the Silver Lake runner too far off the bag. After a rundown, he was tagged out.
Later in the first, following an RBI single, Scholz caught another Silver Lake runner leaning the wrong direction and picked him off.
The solid defensive plays flowed into a good inning at the plate in the second.
Hunter Wahwahsuck led off with a walk, then advanced to third on a hit-and-run when Adam Smith singled. Smith stole second base, and both Wahwahsuck and Smith scored on James Boatwright’s single. Boatwright came around to score on Ayden Black’s single to give the A’s a 3-1 lead.
The game remained 3-1 until the bottom of the third. A pair of walks issued by Scholz came around to score, evening matters at 3-3.
Atchison remained focused and ready to play, something their coach was happy with.
“I liked their attitude,” Coach White said. “It was really upbeat and positive. We came out ready to play and got things done.”
Tied in the top of the fourth, the A’s started the inning with a double by Boatwright and a bunt single by Scholz. Ayden Black reached on an error that scored Boatwright, then he and Scholz scored on a double by Ostertag, giving Atchison a 6-3 lead.
Noah Baniewicz relieved Scholz on the mound, pitching a pair of scoreless innings before giving way to Boatwright in the sixth.
“That was the plan in the beginning,” White said. “I asked my starter to go three or four, brought Noah in to set them up, and brought in the hard-baller to strike them out.”
Boatwright walked the first batter in the sixth, but retired three straight to end the inning.
Atchison added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Smith walked, stole two bases and scored on a single by Scholz.
The four-run cushion was more than enough for Boatwright. He struck out all three batters in the seventh – the final two on called third strikes. After firing fastballs past Silver Lake for his first five outs, the final out came on a nasty curve to end the game.
The win sets up a rematch with Doniphan County in the championship game of the tournament. DC swept the A’s in a doubleheader earlier this season, but Atchison hung tough for all but the last inning of each game.
White said his team will have to score some runs if it wants a different result.
“They’ve got some great pitching, but we’re going to have to get up there and hit the ball,” he said.
DC and Atchison ( 5-6) will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18 in Wathena.