LEBANON — The Neosho Wildcats lost all four of their games Friday and Saturday in the Lebanon Wood Bat Tournament and saw their losing streak extended to five games entering Tuesday’s huge conference and district game against the Carthage Tigers at historic Carl Lewton Stadium.
Neosho enters Tuesday 8-11 overall and 3-2 COC. The Wildcats had won three straight in COC play — highlighted by a victory against state-ranked Willard — before their 15-0 drubbing Wednesday at home against Ozark.
Neosho lost 6-2 to Pembroke Hill and 5-4 to Central Park Hills on Saturday, and 10-5 to Kirksville and 4-3 to Lebanon on Friday. The Wildcats played their games Saturday at Camdenton.
In the 4-3 loss, Lebanon scored two in the third, Neosho scored three in the sixth, Lebanon tied it up with one in the sixth, and the Yellowjackets stung the Wildcats for the win in the seventh.
Lebanon’s Colton Zigenbein led off the seventh with a double and scored on Jayton Cromer’s single as he saw a 3-1 pitch from Gage Kelley.
Kelley took the loss and he allowed four runs (three earned) on 10 hits with three strikeouts and one walk over six innings. Kelley finished at 94 pitches, 58 for strikes.
Troy Reynolds earned the victory in relief and he allowed no runs on a single hit with two strikeouts and no walks over two innings. Tyler Paul took a no-decision and he allowed all three Neosho runs (all earned) on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks over five innings.
Offensively, Neosho’s Weston Durman, Tre Letts, A.C. Marion, Jared Stephens, Kaden King, and Mason Ray each singled and Marion drove in a pair of runs in that sixth inning.
The Wildcats led Kirksville 5-4 until the Tigers pushed across six runs in the sixth. Neosho scored two in the second, one in the fourth, and two in the fifth.
Kaden Dickens and Cole Seward each sparked Neosho offensively with three hits and King and Brett Cook each had two. Seward had two RBI and Durman, Ray, and Kelley one each. Dickens and Seward both doubled.
Colton Gillespie and Chase Harris each led Kirksville with three hits, while Kaden Motley and Jack Snyder each had two. Harris drove in three runs and Paxton Dempsey earned two RBI.
King took the loss and he allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits with no strikeouts and one walk over 1/3 inning. Seward pitched 1 2/3 scoreless in relief and picked up 60 percent of his outs with three strikeouts; Durman allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks over five innings.
Central Park Hills and Neosho did all their scoring in the first three innings — Central Park Hills four in the first and one in the second, Neosho four in the third.
Ray took the loss and he allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits with two strikeouts and one walk over two innings, his second consecutive rough outing after two standout efforts against Miami in the Mantle Classic and then state-ranked Willard.
It was sophomore southpaw Wyatt Keplar who provided one of the only highlights for the Wildcats in the four-game tournament.
Keplar pitched four scoreless innings, allowed one hit, and came through with eight strikeouts and one walk. He fired 57 pitches, 39 for strikes.
Keplar kept Neosho in the game, but alas the Wildcats could not come through with the equalizer let alone the winner.
Seward led the way with two hits and Durman, Letts, Marion, Stephens, Dickens, King, Ray, and Payton Ezell each had one. Seward and Marion both doubled. Despite all the hits, Neosho struggled with their discipline at the plate, combining for 10 strikeouts and no walks.
In the final loss of the tourney, Neosho scored two runs in the first, then Pembroke Hill scored the rest with one in the third, two in the fourth, and three in the sixth.
Ezell took the loss and he allowed six runs (all earned) on 12 hits with five strikeouts and four walks over six innings. Ezell threw 100 pitches, 62 for strikes.