The Holden baseball team swept through its three games in the Holden High School Baseball Tournament last week to claim the tournament championship trophy.
The Eagles came from behind to defeat Odessa in the championship game of the tournament on Friday after taking convincing pool play wins over Sherwood and Clinton earlier in the week.
“We are very excited to win the tournament, especially against a good club like Odessa that hit three home runs in the game,” said Holden baseball head coach Charlie Castle.
Championship Trophy Finish
The Eagles defeated the Bulldogs of Odessa by the final score of 13-5 in the first-place game to close out last week’s tournament action.
The championship victory scored by the Eagles over Odessa, which also marked the 10th win of the season for Holden was secured after overcoming an early 3-0 deficit.
Bulldog batter Zack Miller started the game with a solo home run. Two batters later, a two-run home run sailed over the fence for Odessa.
Holden starting pitcher Garrett Smith, and the Eagle defense regrouped to end the inning with no further damage as the Eagles assessed the work to be done in what quickly became a game of catch-up.
“The plan wasn’t to get down three-to-nothing,” said coach Castle. “Garrett is usually a quick starter. He goes right at hitters, and I guess sometimes that’s going to happen. I like the way he bounced back.
“We were a little bit shocked there when you’re down three-to-nothing, but we I knew the game wasn’t over. We knew there was a long way to go. We just had to get our composure, and the kids did.”
Holden took the lead in the fourth after Danny Hartzler doubled to open what would end up as a nine-run inning.
Aiden Christian, Hunter Higgins, and Kale Tryon followed Hartzler with walks. Tryon’s free pass to first pushed Hartzler across the plate for Holden’s first run of the game.
Justin Radunsky drew an RBI walk that scored Christian. Radunsky would move around the bases, ultimately scoring the go-ahead run for the Eagles.
Holden ended the fourth inning with a 9-3 lead after a double by Tryon plated two runners for the final runs of the frame.
“Even when we weren’t scoring, I thought we had good at-bats,” said coach Castle who gave a nod to the Bulldog defense. “They made good plays. Their shortstop, and their centerfielder are really, really good.”
Gaining the lead loosened the tension after the shell shock of the first inning.
“We finally felt like hey, we could relax, we got the lead, let’s keep going, let’s play some ball,” said coach Castle. “Once we got on the board, we just kep having great at-bats, and the runs piled on.”
The Bulldogs proved capable of pouncing back into the game, and the consensus on the Holden team was to keep building the lead.
“I never felt safe because they’re good,” said Castle. “Just keep tacking on runs. That’s what coach (Jeff) Smith, and coach (Trent) Pritchard kept saying over there, too….keep tacking on runs. I think that was critical. That nine-run outburst was nice, but if we would have stopped scoring, it could have gotten very tight.”
In the fifth inning, Odessa batter Jackson Murry added one run on the top side of the Bulldog scoreboard with a solo home run.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hartzler hit an RBI single, and Smith scored on a wild pitch to tack on two runs to the Holden lead.
Odessa scored its final run of the game in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI double.
Smith and Aiden Morarity crossed the plate for two insurance runs for Holden in the bottom of the sixth.
Morarity returned to the hill in the top of the seventh after replacing Smith with two outs in the sixth.
The Bulldogs failed to score in the top of the seventh as the Eagles secured the first-place tournament trophy.
“We battled,” said coach Castle. “We hit the ball great. We had 11 hits. That’s great. We need to clean up a few errors, but we did a lot of good things. We had four players with two hits.”
Radunsky had two hits with one double, a walk, two runs scored, and one RBI.
Smith had two hits, three walks, two runs scored, and two RBIs.
Hartzler totaled two hits with one double, one walk, two runs scored, and one RBI.
Carson Gard totaled two hits, scored three runs, and walked once.
Tryon finished the game with one hit, and three RBIs. Morarity and Christian each had one hit. Morarity chipped in two RBIs.
Christian scored once. Higgins finished the game with three walks. Lane Siemer drew two walks.
“Garrett Smith picked up the win despite giving up three homers,” said coach Castle. “He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, and five runs. He is 2-1 on the season. He stayed composed after giving up the two homers in the first, and got dialed in to give us a quality start.
“Aiden Morarity closed the door with an impressive 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing just one hit with three strikeouts.”
Pool Play Versus Sherwood
The Eagles baseball team worked to a 15-3 win over Sherwood in Holden’s first pool play of the tournament on Tuesday, April 12.
Holden posted eight, two, three, and two runs by inning as the Marksmen scratched only three runs across the plate in the top of the fourth inning in the game which ended at the tournament time limit.
“Danny Hartzler started, and picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the season,” said coach Castle. “He went two innings, allowing one hit with six strikeouts.
“It was a true team win as all 19 guys dressed out got in the game, and we had three kids get their first varsity hit – Tyler Barker, Dom Sizemore, and Americo Mabrey.”
Carson Gard topped the team hit total with three in three at-bats. Hartzler, Aiden Morarity, and Garrett Smith each had two hits.
“Lane Inglis pitched for the first time in a varsity game,” said coach Castle. “He went 1 1/3 inning in relief, and threw well.”
Pool Play Versus Clinton
Danny Hartzler highlighted Holden’s pool play game on Wednesday by knocking a two-run home run in the first inning versus Clinton on the Eagles’ way to a win by the final score of 14-1.
Hartzler’s homer set the tone as Holden scored four runs in the first inning, and three runs in the second stanza to cruise into the final innings behind sophomore starting pitcher Lane Siemer.
“Danny Hartzler went three-for-four with a homer, and two doubles,” highlighted coach Castle. “He had five runs batted in. He is in a groove right now, playing with a lot of confidence, and it’s fun to watch. Hopefully, Danny will keep it simple, and try to continue to hit the ball on a line like he has been doing.”
Siemer’s stat line shows two hits at the plate, and four innings of work on the hill for the win. He allowed one earned run on five hits, four walks, and three strikeouts.
“Even though he struggled with command at times, Lane showed he can be effective without his best stuff by trusting our defense,” said coach Castle.
Following a single by Siemer to open the fourth inning, third baseman Garrett Smith knocked a home run to plate Siemer.
“Garrett Smith went deep for a two-for-three night with three RBIs,” reported coach Castle. “He continues to have good at-bats, and sees a lot of pitches.”
Carson Gard, Justin Radunsky, Hunter Higgins, and Aiden Chritian also hit safely in the game.
The Eagles’ three wins in their championship tournament sweep improved their overall record to 10-1 on the season as Holden keeps the tournament first-place trophy at home for the first time since the 2018 season.
Early in the conference season, the Eagles entered this week with a record of 2-1 in MRVC-East play as the team approaches the meat and potatoes of league play.
Coach Castle assessed the team’s performance through 11 games played after last week with a tournament trophy in hand as most of the rigorous MRVC-East schedule remains.
“It’s great,” says coach Castle. “We’re young, and we keep getting better. That’s the big thing – can we continue to get better? Our team chemistry is getting better.
“We’re going to enjoy this one, and keep striving for some more great things to happen this year. I think the way we’re hitting right now, we can do some good things. We’re going to go through some bumps in the road, but I like the way the kids are responding right now.”
This week on Thursday, April 21, the Holden baseball team hosts Knob Noster for a conference game. The varsity game on Thursday begins at 4:30 p.m., and is followed by a JV game.
This Friday, April 22, Holden plays Van Horn in a varsity game. The game will be played at the baseball field on the UCM campus in Warrensburg. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
This Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, the Holden JV baseball team plays in the Odessa JV Tournament at Odessa High School. Game times are TBD.