Cooter knocks off No. 1 ranked Dora 9-1 in Class 1 baseball quarterfinal
DORA, Mo. - The offensive success continued for the Cooter Wildcats baseball team Wednesday afternoon in the Class 1 state playoffs.
No. 2 ranked Cooter scored in five of the seven innings it batted as it knocked off the No. 1 ranked Dora Falcons 9-1 in a Class 1 state quarterfinal.
“Everybody knows their jobs right now,” Cooter No. 5 hitter Hayes Austin said. “Nobody is trying to steal the show. We are just moving runners and getting hits at the right time.”
Host Dora played Cooter to a 1-1 stalemate in the first inning but never scored again. Cooter added four runs in the third frame, one run in the fourth inning, two runs in the fifth inning, and another run in the top of the sixth inning to set the final score.
Seven of the nine runs Cooter plated were unearned.
A statistic Cooter coach David Mathis contributed to his squad’s offensive strategy to put continued pressure on the defense
“We are swinging it OK but we are also putting a lot of pressure on the defense by bunting the ball and putting it in play,” Mathis said. “We try to simulate what Valle Catholic and Chaffee do and put the ball in play repeatedly. We feel like it’s hard for a defense to field the ball 21 times and get 21 outs. Here lately we’ve been doing what we are supposed to by putting the ball in play.”
Austin provided the most pop for the Cooter offense at the plate. The junior slugger finished 3-for-5 with pair of one-RBI singles and a double.
“I’ve been trying to pull the ball a lot the past few games,” Austin said. “Today I shortened up my swing and just tried to put it in play and things worked out.”
Bryson Luna hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning to account for Dora’s only run.
The Wildcats prevented at least one run from scoring when they turned a 6-2-5 double play with runners at first and third with one out in the bottom of the second inning.
Cooter’s defense came up big again when catcher Layton Robinson raced to near the net behind home plate to catch a pop up off the bat of Tyler Luna with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the third inning.
“We’ve only allowed two runs in the playoffs so far,” Mathis said. “We talked about putting up zeroes and beating teams inning-by-inning. Our hitting comes and goes but our pitching and defense has been consistent all year.”
Both teams used two pitchers.
Lane McLevain pitched the first 2 1/3 innings for Cooter. He allowed one earned run, three hits, struck out two, and walked one.
Preston Hatch took over for McLevain and got the final 14 outs without allowing a run. He allowed two hits, struck out four, and walked zero.
“My slider was working really well today,” Hatch said.
Hatch had the luxury of catching the final out when Bryson Luna hit a line drive back to the pitcher’s mound with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“It felt pretty good,” Hatch said of making the final play. “It feels great to get to state.”
Mason Luna pitched the first 3 2/3 innings for Dora. He allowed six runs (one earned), four hits, struck out five, and walked four.
Auston Luna pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for Dora. He allowed three runs (one earned), five hits, struck out three, and walked three.
Dora finishes its season with a record of 21-3.
Cooter, which has won all four of its playoff games by at least six runs, improves to 20-6.
Cooter will take on St. Elizabeth (16-4) in a state semifinal Tuesday at CarShield Field in O’Fallon, Missouri. St. Elizabeth beat Wellsville 5-4 in its state quarterfinal Wednesday.
“We are going to give it all we’ve got,” Austin said. “We’ve all had a chip on our shoulder since we got put out last year by Oran. We are just going to go out there and play the best we can.”
Cooter 9, Dora 1
CHS 104 121 0 - 9 9 2
DHS 100 000 0 - 1 5 3
W - Lane McLevain. L - Mason Luna. HR - Bryson Luna (D). 2B - Hayes Austin (C), Preston Hatch (C). Multiple hits - Cooter: Hayes Austin 3-5, Hatch 2-4; Dora: Bryson Luna 3-4.