PECULIAR — 32 runs. That was the head-to-head scoring differential between Raymore-Peculiar and Rockhurst High Schools heading into the District Semifinal match Monday night. In their first meeting of the season, the Hawklets beat the Ray-Pec Panthers 13-0 before destroying them 20-1 later in the season.
“When they have outscored us 33 to one, that’s a pretty good speech I can put together for the pregame,” said head coach Gary Renshaw.
As that drastic scoring spread gave the Panthers motivation heading into the District matchup, their starting pitcher gave them confidence. In that 13-0 loss earlier in the season, which happened to be the first game of the year, senior ace Kyle Wilson tossed the first four innings, allowing only one run. He was set to take the mound Monday night and he brought everything he had.
Wilson knew he needed a great offensive performance to back his pitching, though, as he was heard encouraging his teammates to “score thirty” as they headed to the dugout before the first pitch. Little did he know that his team would be on pace for 25 runs halfway through the game.
To start out, the Panthers took advantage of several blunders by Rockhurst. Three defensive errors by the Hawklets in the first inning allowed for Raymore-Peculiar, who was playing on their home field, to plate two runs. Rockhurst committed another error in the second and the Panthers ended up scoring two more runs.
In the bottom half of the second, Kyle Wilson threw one bad pitch that made the score 4-1. Senior Sam Goodwin took a fastball up in the zone with the strong wind over the right field fence. That was the closest the game would ever be for the Hawklets.
With two men on base and one out in the third inning, senior Turner Wehmeyer was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases for Ray-Pec. After two consecutive walks made the score 6-1, Rockhurst brought in their third pitcher in as many innings. Evan Rathburn was up next and hit a ground ball that should have been a double play; however, senior Blake Skeed, the runner from first, slid into the defenseman at second base, causing and errant throw and two more runs scored.
Skeed didn’t stop there. In the fourth inning, the Southwest Baptist-bound second baseman drilled a long shot with the bases loaded, plating all three runs on the double. At that point, 3.2 innings had been played and the score was 13-1.
Though Wilson would give up a run in the bottom half of the fourth, the scoring would come to an end for Rockhurst. Solid defensive play behind the starter’s eight strikeouts earned Wilson the win, as the Panthers walked away with a 13-2 victory after five innings.
“They came out twice and kicked our butt. We came back with a lot of confidence,” Wilson said after the game.
“We knew we could get this game and that’s what we did.”
After the team huddled up for their post-game meeting, Wilson and Coach Renshaw shared a victorious moment together coming off the field.
“Thank you for giving me this game,” Wilson said to his team’s skipper.
“He was outstanding. He couldn’t have thrown a better game. When you hold [Rockhurst] to two runs, you’ve done something right.”
Ray-Pec took on Lee’s Summit West for the championship on Wednesday night, but due to deadline restraints, that game will be published in next week’s paper. It is known at the time of this writing, however, that the Panthers felt pretty good heading into that game.
“We have nothing to lose. The pressure’s on West,” said Renshaw.
And as for Wilson — he’s thinking big.
“We’re going to State. That’s all I can think about.”