The Neosho Wildcats left behind five runners in the second and third innings, the Bentonville West Wolverines plated six runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and finally Neosho’s seventh inning rally fell short in a 6-4 loss for the Wildcats in their season opener Friday at Roy B. Shaver Stadium.

The Neosho Wildcats left behind five runners in the second and third innings, the Bentonville West Wolverines plated six runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and finally Neosho’s seventh inning rally fell short in a 6-4 loss for the Wildcats in their season opener Friday at Roy B. Shaver Stadium.
Hitting with runners in scoring position and less than two outs, as well as routine plays, are what the Wildcats will be looking at moving forward.
“For the most part, we had good at-bats,” Neosho head coach Danny Powers said. “We only struck out twice. We hit the ball hard at people early, but we had guys in scoring position, probably on third base, more than once with less than two outs. We’ve just got to know. We practice that. We’ve got to hit the ball to the right side or put something in the air. They had the infield in and we’re taking a 3-1 swing, getting jammed and rolling one to the third baseman.
“We had some baserunning mistakes. That’s a ball we probably take our chances on if our runner at third gets a good read. Bottom line, we’ll be fine offensively.
“We’ve got to clean up some things on the defensive end. We had six errors that I counted in my head, I haven’t looked at the book yet and none of them were on difficult plays. Unfortunately, we kicked the ball and threw the ball around on some routine plays. If we make the routine play, momentum’s a big thing. We were battling a 0-0 game at the end of their week. Their pitching staff is probably either tired or at the bottom end of it, and we’re fresh, so I felt pretty good if we would have kept it within 1-2 runs late. You’ve got to give our kids credit because they didn’t give up, but at the same time, we’ve got a lot of work to do just making routine plays.”
In the Neosho seventh, down 6-0, Neosho pieced together a rally. With one down, pinch hitter Carter Ezell reached on an infield single and then Colton Marion and Marcus Crawford worked back-to-back walks to load the bases with Wildcats. Hank Selig found an open spot in left field and he roped a two-run double for the first Wildcat runs of the season. Brett Cook then hit a RBI single and the Wildcats were in business, down 6-3. Clint Winchester’s sacrifice fly accounted for the final runs of the game, because freshman pitcher Kendall Thornton picked up a strikeout to end the game.
It was Thornton who scored the first run of the game in the fifth inning. He hit a leadoff single against Neosho starter Jacob Galbraith, advanced to second on a Maddox Thornton sacrifice and scored on Hunter Mayes’ single.
In the decisive top of the sixth, momentum changed on one routine play gone wrong for the Wildcats. Marion — a Northeastern Oklahoma A&M recruit for baseball — dropped a pop-up on the infield that he likely catches 999 out of 1,000 times.
Zach Trammell’s two-run double highlighted Bentonville West’s offensive efforts in the sixth.
The Wolverines had four runs on two hits and two errors, and left behind three runners. Overall, Bentonville West and Neosho each had six hits, but the young Wolverines — mostly sophomores and freshmen during the school’s inaugural season — proved to have more hits of the timely variety.
Marion, in relief, hit Will Jarrett with a pitch on a 3-2 count to start the seventh. Jarrett advanced to second on an error and then scored after consecutive groundballs to the right side.
Neosho left the bases loaded in the second after Cook singled and Winchester and Jordan Greenstreet each worked walks from Bentonville West starter Jason Gloeckler. That inning featured the 5-3 groundout Powers mentioned with less than two outs.
The Wildcats stranded a pair in the third, as Selig and Cook worked consecutive walks. That inning also included a fielder’s choice and a caught stealing.
Neosho — 0-1 on the season — will be in action next week for a pair of road games against district opponents Joplin (Tuesday) and McDonald County (Thursday).

BENTONVILLE WEST 6, NEOSHO 4
Bentonville West     000 014 1 — 6 6 1
Neosho                  000 000 4 — 4 6 4
Jason Gloeckler, Kendall Thornton (5), Dakota McDonald (7) and Dylan Carter. Jacob Galbraith, Colton Marion (5), Jared Stevens (7) and Marcus Crawford. WP: Gloeckler. LP: Galbraith. SV: McDonald. 2B: Zach Trammell 2, Jaron Jenkins; Hank Selig. SF: Clint Winchester. SH: Maddox Thornton; Galbraith, Stevens. SB: Jenkins; Crawford 2, Selig. CS: Michael Shilling. HBP: Will Jarrett. LOB: Bentonville West 7, Neosho 9.