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Karns City works 10 walks in 14-3 win over Kane

Waiting Game
Karns City’s Jacob Jones (8) points at the bench after driving in two runs in a District 9 baseball game against Kane at Michelle Krill Memorial Field at Historic Pullman Park in Butler on Friday. Justin Guido/Butler Eagle

All Karns City coach Josh Smith asks out of his players is a good at-bat.

Every hitter in his lineup delivered in a 14-3 win in four and a half innings against visiting Kane Friday night.

The Gremlins were patient at the dish — earning 10 walks — and banged out six hits after spotting the Wolves three runs in the initial half-inning of baseball at Michelle Krill Memorial Field at Historic Pullman Park.

“That’s a testament to our veteran leadership,” Smith said of his group’s offensive effort. “We’re pretty senior-heavy this year. It happened the same way the other night against Ambridge. We got down early at a bigger school, and we very easily could’ve folded. I’ll be honest, in years past, we probably would’ve.

“I think a lot of our guys grew up and got a little mentally tougher. They find a way to keep battling. They understand that the game’s not over.”

Karns City (3-0) lead-off hitter Jacob Jones got to second base on an outfielder’s error in the bottom first, then six of the Gremlins’ next eight batters reached on balls. Back at the top of the order, Jones whacked a two-run single and Jacob Callihan worked a second four-pitch walk, chasing Kane (1-1) starter Landon Darr from the mound.

“He was throwing a lot of balls to the batter in front of me, so I was just patient waiting for a strike,” Callihan said. “I was going to take until he threw (a strike).”

A few slots in the order prior, Koen Williams stepped in the batter’s box with the bases full. His turn ended with a Gremlin runner being walked home for the third time in a row. Darr threw 48 pitches — only 14 of which went for strikes — and could only muster two outs.

“In the seven-hole, you see a lot of guys batting and he didn’t throw a lot of strikes, so you’ve just got to be selective and swing if it’s there,” Williams said.

“We hit a lot at practice, and we learn how to be able to adjust and look at different pitches,” Smith said. “Our hitting philosophy is no surprise — we attack fastballs. We look to be aggressive ... They understand that they’ve got to be patient, too. Different situations are different opportunities.”

Karns City’s Mason Sherwin (13) tries to catch the ball, but it gets through and Kane’s Luke Ely slides into second base safe during a District 9 baseball game at Michelle Krill Memorial Field at Historic Pullman Park in Butler on Friday. Justin Guido/Butler Eagle

It was only the visitors’ second time on a baseball field this year. Late-winter weather has kept them from practicing on their own diamond to this point.

“The snow just came off our field last week and then rain,” Wolves coach Josh Jekielek said. “Everything’s late. We’ve been in the parking lot two times, we’ve been on the football practice field once where I set the bases up ... We do whatever we can.”

It took only three pitches for them to get on the board in the early going. Dane Anderson doubled on Mallick Metcalfe’s first offering, then Luke Ely swatted a single up the middle. The Wolves scored twice more in the half-inning, but not again as Metcalfe settled down.

“This game was a ‘knock rust off’ game,” Jekielek said. “But, I was still pleased with the at-bats, the approach the kids took. We put the ball in play and hit the ball hard most of the night against a senior pitcher.”

Mitchell Waldroup, Braden Grossman, Wyatt Fleming, and Callihan all had run-scoring base knocks in the final three frames. Fleming’s double meant each player in the order reached base for Karns City.

Kane 300 00 — 3 7 2

Karns City 812 3 — 14 6 1

W: Mallick Metcalfe 5IP (5K, 2BB); L: Landon Darr 0.2IP (0K, 7BB).

Kane (1-1): Dane Anderson 2B 1B R, Luke Ely 3-1B RBI R, Lucas Burrs 1B RBI, Isaya Miller 1B RBI.

Karns City (3-0): Jacob Jones 1B 2RBI 2R, Jacob Callihan 1B RBI 2R, Mike Neff 1B 2R, Braden Grossman 1B 2R, Mitchell Waldroup 1B RBI 2R, Koen Williams R, Wyatt Fleming 2B RBI R, Mason Sherwin 2R.

Thursday: Karns City vs. Redbank Valley

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