Heading to State... Wellington-Napoleon will take 23 athletes to the state championships as competitors and alternates. They are, front, from left, Michael Brisbin, Luke Schaberg, Levi Banner, Justin Willard, Tristan Green, Jared Mershon, Jacob Bowling, Blake Brockmeyer, Dustin Seitz, Zach Garrett, Brandon Niendick, Jacob Beckemeyer; back, Haley Williams, Breanna Cooper, Madison Thornburg, Jennifer Rodgers, Jaime Ruskey, Kaylee Brockmeyer, Keely Brockmeyer, Christa Beckemeyer, Jake Ruskey, Blaine Beissenherz, Brett Schaberg.
Busload of Tigers qualify for state
A top-four finish at Saturday's Class 1 Section 3 meet in Boonville would guarantee a spot at the state championships next week in Jefferson City. Twenty-three Wellington-Napoleon athletes will make the trip.
Jacob Beckemeyer won the discus with a throw of 124' 4". He also won the shot put at 44' 4.75". Brett Schaberg was the runner-up with a throw of 43' 10.5".
Madison Thornburg won the girls shot put with a toss of 35' 4".
Brandon Niendick ran to the win in the 110-meter hurdles. He hit the finish line in 15.30. Justin Willard was second with a time of 16.42. Niendick also scored the win in the 300-meter hurdles, stopping the clock at 41.11.
The 4x200-meter relay team of Niendick, Dustin Seitz, Jared Mershon and Jake Ruskey posted a winning time of 1:34.79.
Mershon, Seitz, Ruskey and Jacob Bowling made up the 400-meter relay that won with a time of 46.47. Read more in The Odessan.
Lady Tigers defeat Leeton 9-4
After a lengthy layoff because of cancellations, the Lady Tigers finally got to take to the diamond again May 6 in Leeton. Wellington-Napoleon overcame 11 strikeouts as a team by pounding 14 hits in the ball game and using two innings to do most of the damage in a 9-4 win.
Lady Tigers trailed 4-3 going into the top of the fifth but immediately threatened with a leadoff double by Dustie Rukavina. Allison Baker's attempt at a sacrifice bunt resulted in an infield hit to give the Lady Tigers runners on the corners with no outs. Rukavina and Baker would find their way home later in the inning thanks mostly to Leeton's pitcher's control problems to give their team a slim 5-4 advantage.
Score remained 5-4 until the top of the seventh when Wellington-Napoleon went looking for insurance runs. Baker and Kayla Thompson each singled to start the inning. Shelby Beagle then drew a base on balls to load the bases. The fourth batter of the inning, Morgan Weedman, singled to short, which allowed Baker to race home. With Mikayla Lohsandt in the batter's box, Thompson scampered home on a wild pitch to make it 7-4. Lohsandt then singled to center field to drive in Beagle. Weedman padded the lead further when she came home later in the inning on another wild pitch. Read more in The Odessan.
Bulldogs advance in a wild one, 9-6
"This was probably the wildest, most ugly-played game by two teams that were trying to take turns giving the game away," said head coach Kerry Shaw about his team's 9-6 win Monday over Pleasant Hill in the Class 4 District 13 semifinals.
"At least that's the way it looked to me. We didn't play well at all, but we managed to capitalize on enough Pleasant Hill mistakes to escape with the win."
Sixth-seeded Roosters committed nine errors in the contest but somehow led the game on two different occasions and kept battling the second-seeded Bulldogs all the way to the end. Odessa scored nine runs on only five hits while committing four errors.
Pleasant Hill scored once in the top of the first before tacking on a second in the third. Looking at a 2-0 deficit, the Bulldogs' first run came when Chase Kinnaman was hit by a pitch with the bases full. Cameron Hilbrenner scored the second run one batter later when Dakota Graham knocked a single into center field and reloaded the bases. Gabe Peerson then drew a base on balls to bring J. W. McGraw home.
In the top of the fourth the Roosters tied the game back up at three. In Odessa's half of the inning the tie was broken with two runs. Pleasant Hill answered in the top of the fifth with three runs to reclaim the lead at 6-5, but it would be short-lived.
In the bottom of the fifth Odessa scored two runs without recording a base hit. Two errors by the Roosters gave the Bulldogs two free base runners, and both scored when error number three in the inning occurred on a poor throw from the catcher to first base on a dropped third strike. Kobe Hardin and Cody Behrman were both hustling on the play to put the Bulldogs on top for good. Read more in The Odessan.
Bulldogs grab a share of title
After Odessa's loss to Oak Grove on May 8, the Bulldogs needed help from Excelsior Springs May 9. The underdog Tigers had to beat the Panthers to give Odessa a shot at sharing the MRVC West crown with Oak Grove.
Three errors by the Panthers allowed the Tigers to score three unearned runs, giving Excelsior Springs a 3-2 win. So all the Bulldogs had to do was avoid the upset themselves Friday at home against Harrisonville, and they would share the MRVC West baseball championship with Oak Grove.
Bulldogs trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the fifth before getting on the board.
"Talon Searles delivered the biggest hit of the inning with a two-out, two-strike single to right center to drive in two runs to tie the ball game," head coach Kerry Shaw said. "Then an infield single by Brandon Hall set the stage for a two-out go-ahead single by Cameron Hilbrenner to drive in Searles. Dakota Graham came up clutch and sat down Harrisonville in order in the top of the sixth. With momentum on our side, we took advantage of a leadoff error and plated three more insurance runs in our half of the sixth. The top half of the seventh didn't go as smooth as the sixth, but we were able to escape it without any runs and earned the come-from-behind victory to clinch the co-conference championship." Read more in The Odessan.
Big first inning costs Odessa
In order to have a chance at winning the MRVC West baseball title outright, Odessa had to beat Oak Grove May 8 on their home soil. But a six-run first inning by the Panthers proved to be too much to overcome as the Bulldogs fell 10-6. What's worse is the Bulldogs booted the ball around to the tune of five errors in the game. Three of those came in the first inning.
"We talked about how this game would come down to defense, and we didn't play well at all in helping Oak Grove jump out to a 6-0 lead in the first," said head coach Kerry Shaw.
Panthers were leading 8-1 entering the top of the fifth when Odessa found their swings at the plate and scored five runs. Talon Searles scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch. Calieb Bennett found home on a fielding error by the Panthers at second. J. W. McGraw smashed the baseball to the gap in right to drive in Brandon Hall. Two batters later, Dakota Graham laced a two-run bullet to left to score John Landis and Cody Behrman. Read more in The Odessan.
Odessa second, third at conference
Harrisonville hosted the MRVC West track and field championships May 6. Lady Bulldogs scored 136 points and came up just shy of the top spot in second. Grain Valley edged out the Lady Bulldogs for the title with 140.5 points. Harrisonville grabbed third with 124.5 points. Excelsior Springs and Pleasant Hill tied for fourth with 115.5 points. Oak Grove completed the standings in sixth with 50.
Oak Grove won the boys championship with 168 points. Grain Valley's 138 points left them in second. Odessa finished third with 113.5 points. Harrisonville, 105, Pleasant Hill, 90, and Excelsior Springs, 67.5, completed the standings.
Kylin Grubb, freshman, set the meet record in winning the triple jump. The new mark is now 35' 4", which was also a season best for Grubb. Kennedy Neville was seventh with a jump of 30' 6.5".
Jillian Bertz won the shot put with a throw of 34'. Lindsey Dennis took third with a season best throw of 31' 7.5". Bertz also claimed the top spot in the discus with a throw of 126' 1", which was a season best. Dennis' throw of 93' 11" was a season best for her and gave her fifth place.
Meghan Bamvakais won the pole vault at 7' 6". Mallory Mandina cleared 7' to claim fifth.
Hanna VanLanker ran 200 meters in a season-best time of 27.69 to place second. Read more in The Odessan.
Nine Bulldogs advance to sectionals at district
Warrensburg hosted the Class 3 District 7 track meet May 11. Athletes hoping to compete in the sectional meet would have to score a top-four finish to qualify. Odessa had nine athletes extend their seasons.
Kylin Grubb won the long jump with a leap of 15' 3". Kennedy Neville placed second in the event with a jump of the exact same distance. That leap of 15' 3" was also a season best for Neville. Grubb also finished first in the triple jump at a distance of 34' 6".
Jillian Bertz scored a second place finish in the discus with a throw of 123' 2.5".
Brody Hughes ran to a second place finish in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 42.95.
Blake Hatfield cleared a season-best 11 feet to finish third in the pole vault.
In the triple jump, Brent Alumbaugh was credited with third at 41' 8.5". Tristin Kesemann was fourth overall with a jump of 40' 4.25". Read more in The Odessan.
Kleoppel, Dowell fall short of qualifying
The Class 3 Section 4 golf tournament took place May 7 at Hidden Pines in Warrensburg. The top two teams and the top 12 individuals not on a qualifying team would punch their tickets to the state championships.
Odessa had two individual golfers at the tournament. Colby Dowell finished 50th on the day with a round of +59 on the par-71 course.
Nathan Kleoppel finished his round at +17 and was led to believe for quite a while that he had qualified for the state championships according to the scores being written down on the scoreboard. Much later, though, even after some teams and coaches had left the grounds, Odessa's head coach Kirk Gross and Harrisonville's head coach were brought back into the clubhouse and informed that there had been a mathematical error on the scorecard of Savannah's Aaron Baker. The error was a two-stroke error in Baker's favor and would qualify him as the 12th and final individual, which would knock Kleoppel and Harrisonville's Ronald Baker out of the state championships. Read more in The Odessan.
Bulldogs lose in semis
Top-seeded Barstow ended fourth-seeded Odessa's season quickly May 7 in the semifinals of the Class 1 District 13 team tournament. Bulldogs were only able to win two games on the afternoon in a 5-0 loss.
Alec Rider was shut out in number one singles 0-6, 0-6. He lost to Sohil Bhagat. Steven Ketchmark blanked Adam Aderman in number two singles 6-0, 6-0. Zac Estes suffered the same fate in number three singles, losing to Ben Abbas in straight sets 0-6, 0-6. Frankie Mandina was the only Bulldog to get on the scoreboard in number four singles. He lost to Max Gong 2-6, 0-6. Read more in The Odessan.