Baseball fans at Roy B. Shaver Stadium on Tuesday agreed they had never seen anything like it before during all their years of baseball watching.
Springfield Central changed pitchers 12 times — five pitchers used in the first inning alone, including three different arms against the first three Neosho batters — and Neosho pushed across 12 runs in the first two innings en route to a 15-1 run-rule victory.
Springfield Central threw starter Andrew Murry, Theo Hosmer, Caleb Davis, Jared Allen, Hunter Harrell, Hosmer again, Harrell again (he started the second), Davis again, Mozes Perkins, Robert Blakey, Allen again, Harrell again, and Blakey again. Keeping track at home?
Harrell finished at 42 pitches, Davis 22, Hosmer 11, Blakey 10, Allen eight, Perkins four, and Murry three, combining for 100.
Murry took the loss on three pitches, as he allowed a leadoff single to Weston Durman. Durman scored the game’s first run on a RBI double by A.C. Marion against Davis.
In the first, in addition to Marion’s RBI double, Neosho picked up a Kaden King RBI single and a Durman two-run single. Springfield Central earned two of the three outs against Neosho in baserunning situations.
Kaden Dickens, Mason Ray, and Durman came through with RBI singles in the second.
Payton Ezell hit a two-run single in the fifth.
Jared Stephens earned the victory and he allowed no runs on no hits with four strikeouts and no walks over two innings. Ray allowed one run (earned) on one hit with two strikeouts and one walk over two innings. Cole Seward closed it out with no runs on one hit in the fifth and he recorded one strikeout and one walk.
Neosho improved to 10-16 overall, ended a five-game losing streak, and the Wildcats returned to action Thursday, weather permitting, for their regular season finale against Newton County rival East Newton. The Patriots took a 11-7 mark up into the game against the Wildcats.
The Wildcats lost 10 of their last 11 games before Tuesday.
No. 4 seed Neosho plays Republic in a Class 5, District 11 quarterfinal at 2 p.m. Saturday in Joplin. The Wildcats edged Republic 3-2 earlier this season and that win started a three-game winning streak for Neosho in Central Ozark Conference play.
In that earlier game, Neosho and Republic scored all their runs in the first 2 1/2 innings, Neosho one in the first and two in the third and Republic two in the second.
It was a battle of Jareds on the mound with Neosho’s Jared coming out victorious.
Stephens allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks over seven innings. Stephens threw 96 pitches, 65 for strikes.
Hughes took the loss and he allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with nine strikeouts and three walks over six innings.
Marion and Letts each had two hits and Brett Cook and Stephens both picked up RBI.
Keep in mind that last season Carthage won this district coming from the lowest seed and dispatched three of the top four seeds en route to a sectional berth.