By Brennan Stebbins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Through four innings on Tuesday, the sectional baseball game in Monett was a nail-biter.
But visiting Nevada poured it on with 11 late runs and came away with a 13-2 win in six innings, sending the Tigers to the Class 4 quarterfinals for the first time since 1995.
“It’s huge,” Nevada coach Danny Penn said. “A lot of momentum coming off the district championship last Wednesday. I thought we’ve had a lot of good practice days between last Wednesday and today. I thought our guys came out and executed the game plan we talked about. We didn’t look to do too much offensively, went right back up the middle. We were patient, didn’t allow (Marcus) Young to expand the zone and that led to a lot of walks. Just thought we played a really strong, complete game today.”
Nevada, now 19-9, will face Springfield Catholic, 19-7, on Thursday.
Tuesday’s game was a 2-2 tie entering the fifth inning when Nevada broke it open. Drake Ketterman started things off with a double, Case Sanderson was intentionally walked and then Cade Beshore put the Tigers on top with a single to right field.
Riddick Shook made it 4-2 with a single through the left side, and Kellan Ast drove in two more with a single up the middle.
The sixth inning was an even bigger one for Nevada.
The Tigers sent 13 batters to the plate, collected six walks and three singles and forced two pitching changes before it was finished. Barrett Nadurata walked and later scored on a throwing error, Sanderson singled and scored, Beshore singled and scored and Ketterman added an RBI single.
Caden Klumpp and Shook drew walks to load the bases, and then Ast, Jett Snyder and Barrett Nadurata drew bases-loaded walks to force runs in. Sanderson was also hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
“The guys at the top of our lineup just continued to do what they’ve done all year,” Penn said. “Drake did a really nice job as a table setter, had a big double to lead off the fourth inning there and we just continued to pile on after that. Got some momentum and I think we just continued to build more momentum and then we got base hits, we took our walks. I think Monett just got kind of deflated and we were able to take advantage of that and keep piling on.”
“Give a lot of credit, Nevada played a good baseball game,” Monett coach Michael Calhoun said. “Marcus threw really well but early on we had a couple mistakes, mostly mental, that cost us defensively and they started rolling like the big boulder going down the hill. Give them a lot of credit but I’m proud of the boys, how hard they played this year and how hard they worked and what they were able to accomplish.”
Klumpp started for Nevada and gave up two runs in the first inning, then allowed just one base runner over the next two frames. He was replaced by Sanderson with one out in the bottom of the fourth, and he promptly got two strikeouts to strand a pair of runners on base. He only allowed an infield single in the fifth.
Kennedy D’Elia closed out the sixth and worked around a one-out double.
Monett’s season ended with a 16-9 record – a nine-win improvement over last spring.
“We were 7-16 last year and 16 wins this year with a district title,” Calhoun said. “Got a lot of freshmen out there that played, a lot of young guys without much experience. We started three freshmen out there, a sophomore who hadn’t played varsity baseball before and another sophomore. We’ve got a lot of good players coming back. I’m excited for the future. I’m sad for the five seniors we’re losing. Great kids, great leaders. Hopefully these young guys learned something.”