David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

KANSAS - Things started ignobly for the Kansas Comets versus Oaks Monday afternoon at Dee Neel Field, but after their day’s work was done, the Comets had walked away with a pair of run rule conference victories. In the opening game southpaw Brett Odle took the hill for Kansas and appeared to get Warrior leadoff man, Jet Snell to ground out on the game’s first pitch. But an error on the Comet second sacker and throwing error on the catcher saw the fleet footed Snell move easily into third base. And on the game’s next pitch Snell trotted home on Lyle Puckett’s long sacrifice fly to center. But Odle struck out Jason Sanders and got cleanup man Derrick Smith to ground out to his shortstop to quell the uprising. With Smith on the mound for Oaks, Kansas’s Austin Hunt greeted him with a leadoff single. Zac Carnes tied things up when he gapped a double that scored Hunt. Carnes gave the Comets the lead when he moved to third on a passed ball and touched the plate on a wild pitch. Kansas scored their third run as a result of another Warrior error and subsequent passed ball. Leading 3-1, Odle was virtually untouchable for the remainder of the game. After yielding a leadoff walk and an ensuing fielder’s choice, Odle caught the runner leaning the wrong way for a pickoff and the second out. The top of the second concluded when Cody Bright tracked down Preston Cooper’s long fly ball. The game reeled out of control for the Warriors when Jared Lamont and Odle slapped back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the second. Hunt loaded the bases when Oaks committed their fourth error of the young game. Johnny Lewis plated Lamont and Odle with a two-RBI single. Lewis moved to third on back-to-back walks to big brother Wade and Casey Fencer. And Bright greeted the Warrior reliever, Cody Blossom with a two-RBI single. The Oaks lefty got the last out of the frame when he struck out C. J. Foreman. The Warriors only hit came in the top of the third when Puckett gapped a two-out double between the Comet outfielders. But Oaks left the runner stranded when Sanders lined out to center. Blossom pitched his way around a hit batsman to hold Kansas scoreless in the home half of the third. And after another three up-three down top of the fourth, the Comet offense struck again. Johnny Lewis led off with a double and scored on another error. By the end of the third Kansas had scored four more runs. Trailing 12-1, the Warriors needed to score two to stay alive, but the Kansas starter didn’t allow a ball out of the infield. In addition to his complete game win, Odle went three for three at the plate, with a run scored and a RBI. In the day’s second game, the Comets called on Alex Burnett for the start, who was met by a clean single from Snell to start the game. The leadoff man then swiped second and moved to third on Puckett’s sacrifice single. For the second time Snell scored the first run of the game, when he strolled home on Derrick Smith’s long standup triple. But again, that would be the Warrior’s lone tally of the game. Snell then took the hill for Oaks and like Smith in the first game, suffered through a rash of defensive errors, a smattering of base hits, two hit batsman and some good Comet base running. In their opening at bats Kansas sent a dozen batters to the plate, parlaying five hits and a trio of errors into nine runs on the scoreboard. Burnett pitched his way around his team’s only error by striking out the side in the top of the second. With Puckett pitching in relief , the Comets needed only one hit, four walks and a wild pitch to hang two more on the scoreboard. Leading 11-1, Burnett just needed to get through the next two innings without allowing a run. Thanks to some good defense, he got out of the third unscathed. And in the fourth, the Kansas 10th grader pitched his away around another Smith base hit propelling his team to the run rule shortened victory.