The Diamond Wildcats knew they’d have their hands full when they opened the regular season against the Clever Blue Jays, the preseason No. 2 ranked team in Class 3.
Through the first two innings, the Wildcats kept it close. But trailing 4-1 in the top of the third things unraveled a bit for the Wildcats and five errors led to seven Blue Jay runs. Diamond wouldn’t recover, and Clever cruised to a 16-1 victory in five innings.
“We knew going into it that they were going to be good,” Wildcats coach Nathan Cook said. “But for the first game of the year we played really well up until the third inning, when we looked like we were playing our first game of the year.”
Due to poor weather of late, Friday marked one of only a handful of times the Wildcats have been outdoors on the diamond so far. That rust reared its head in the third inning, but credit Clever for taking advantage of the mistakes, as well.
Chance Wolfe, a senior, had a huge day for the Blue Jays at the plate where he went 4 for 4 with a double, grand slam, six RBI and three runs scored. Another senior, Ranger Curtis, clubbed a home run and drove in three runs as well for the Blue Jays.
Wolfe also earned the victory on the mound as he held the Wildcats to three hits and one run while striking out 11 and walking one in five innings.
The Wildcats plated their run in the second inning when Aaron Smith slapped a single to score Jordan Divine, who had doubled, to make it 4-1. Ryan Jinks also added a double for the Wildcats, while going 2 1/3 innings on the mound with two strikeouts and three walks.
Diamond moves on to face Miller at 5 p.m. Monday in the opening round of pool play at the Sarcoxie Tournament. The Wildcats square off against Exeter at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.