They had him on the ropes, but they never could knock him out.
Kickapoo ace Kaleb Schmidt was in danger in the first three innings on Tuesday evening, but Glendale couldn’t provide the body blow. The Falcons stranded eight runners in the first three innings as Schmidt limited the damage, leading Kickapoo to a 5-2 win at Donald L. Provance Field.
“I think he tried to be a little bit too fine as opposed to being in attack mode, as he was the last two innings there,” Kickapoo coach Jason Howser said of Schmidt. “Credit him. He managed to right the ship and make pitches on the other end without it snowballing on us.”
Tripp Horsey went 2-for-3 at the plate and Conner Burnett tossed 2.1 perfect innings in relief for the Falcons in the loss.
Glendale (14-9, 3-1 Ozark Conference) left the bases loaded in the first and second innings and stranded two men in scoring position in the third as Schmidt battled both his command and mechanics.
“I was real uncomfortable on the mound,” he admitted afterwards. “I had to make an adjustment. I was flying open across my body a lot."
In the second inning, Glendale scored two runs without the ball ever leaving the infield. Two well-placed grounders by Tanner Kellerstrass and Tripp Horsey became infield singles. An error, wild pitch, and bases loaded walk helped the Falcons plate two.
“Credit them,” Howser said. “They did a good job of shortening up with two strikes and moving balls. Baseball is hitting it where they ain’t.”
Kickapoo (16-5, 3-0 OC) scored twice in the first, aided by Glendale’s defense. The Falcons booted a double-play grounder and dropped a fly ball, and Kickapoo took advantage. Tristan Stevens’ sacrifice fly and Jordan Dade’s RBI single put the Chiefs in front 2-0.
“Any time you can score first against a good team, you want to do it,” Howser said. “We were able to take advantage of maybe some early game jitters or the wind, whatever it was.”
Kickapoo added another run in the second as Corey Johnson came home on Preston Keisker’s RBI knock. They led 3-2 after two innings.
Meanwhile, Glendale grinded out at-bats against Schmidt. They drew three walks in the first three innings until Schmidt made an adjustment in his mechanics.
“I made my delivery a lot less complicated and found a way to get the win,” said Schmidt, who struck out six.
After throwing 58 pitches in the first three innings, Schmidt threw 36 in the next four. He retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.
Schmidt sent the side down in order in the fourth on nine pitches. After Kickapoo tacked on two fifth-inning runs off RBI hits from Kyle Giefer and Chandler Jones, Schmidt took the mound in the bottom of the inning and mowed the Falcons down in order on only four pitches. In the seventh, he struck out the side to finish the game.
Kickapoo 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 5 7 1
Glendale 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 2
Kickapoo: Merced, Keisker, Herron (2B), Giefer, Dade, Jones, Schmidt
Glendale: Sachs, Horsey 2, Burlew, Climer, Kellerstrass