At the halfway point of April, the weather has kept the Bears off the field four games, but each of the other games have seen Bear victories. Remarkable pitching and strong bats continue to keep the Bears in the unbeaten column. Two Bear pitchers, sophomore Trey McDaniel and junior Blakeney Kearbey, had their fastball clocked at 86 MPH this weekend by a PBR scout during the Lucky 13 Wood Bat Tourney.
In McDaniel’s three outings this spring (Liberty-Mt View, Sikeston and Kelly), he has pitched 19 1/3 innings giving up only 2 runs (.72 ERA) and stuck out 40 batters with only 4 walks and 6 hits. The Bears’ opponents are hitting only .091 when McDaniel is on the mound.
In Friday’s game against Kelly, McDaniel kept the opponents at bay waiting on his offense to pull out the win. That happened in the sixth inning when Ben Becker came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a centerfield sacrifice fly to score catcher, Trynt Tompkins and Kearbey followed him in on a bad throw to third. Those two runs were enough as the Bears defeated Kelly 2-0.
Kearbey pitched the Bears to a win over East Prairie on Friday 6-2. So far this season, he has amassed an incredible pitching record of 3-0 plus 2 saves. Kearbey is often called the “Workhorse” of the rotation because he’s pitched in 5 of the Bears 9 games. Kearbey appears ready to pitch any time Coach Jeff Null needs him. For instance, the day after pitching a 5-inning 1-hit shutout against North County, Kearbey was called to the mound in the seventh inning against Sikeston to save the game’s 2-run lead. Kearbey struck out three and walked two picking up the save. On Saturday, Kearbey pitched 3 innings and came back again on Sunday to pitch 4 more to pick up the win in both games.
McDaniel and Kearbey along with catcher/pitcher Tompkins and centerfielder/pitcher/catcher Devon Duncan round out both the pitching staff and the starting lineup on the offense. A senior, Duncan’s bat has kept him at the top of the statboard with a 522 BA and 1.000 slugging and 1.676 on-base plus slugging percentages.
The Bears, ranked 4th in the state in class 2, have not padded their schedule for wins, instead electing to play a tough schedule to ready them for districts. So far this season the Bears have defeated a Class 5 school, a Class 4 school, four Class 3 schools and three schools in their own class.
One of many highlight of April for the Bears heart of the order was Jake Dorris’ grand slam home run against Arcadia Valley. Dorris, who came to the plate after Becker drew a walk to load the bases, teed up on a fastball sending it over the left center fence to break the 0-0 game open in the third inning. Bears went on to win by run rule in the sixth 12-2.
In the first 9 games, the bears have outscored their opponents 60-9, holding the opposing team to an average 1 run per game.
Though the Bears hitting slumped during the weekend, scoring only scored 11 runs in three games during the Lucky 13 Wood Bat event, they look to get their offense back on track with a few days off before the second part of April’s season kicks off with Doniphan on Thursday, April 16.