Kearney baseball changes luck in late-game battles

Kearney senior pitcher Lance Bolles throws a pitch during a baseball game against Smithville March 31 at Smithville High School.

KEARNEY — Kearney baseball stumbled to start the Northland Tournament, but the Bulldogs quickly got things back on track as they won three straight games.

Kearney dropped the tournament opener against Liberty 4-1 before responding with a 12-2 win over Fort Osage. The Bulldogs followed up by pulling out two wins in tight games, something that they have had some trouble with early in the season.

The Bulldogs built a 7-2 lead over St. Joe Central after four innings before their opponents charged back with seven scores over the next two frames. Senior Conner Murphy, who allowed three runs in the sixth, settled down to close out Central in the seventh inning and keep the game tied at 9-all.

With the bases loaded, junior Briggs Terwilleger hit a ground ball toward third base but Central’s infielder earned an error on the play as senior Lance Bolles scored the winning run.

Kearney found itself down 6-0 through three innings against Park Hill before scoring seven runs in the fourth to take the lead. That scoring surge looked to be enough until the Trojans tied the game with a run in the bottom of seventh.

Terwilleger ended up sending Bolles home for the game-winning run again, although this time he did it on a homer in the top of the ninth. Sophomore Carter Prather went three up and three down to close out his fourth innings on the mound where he allowed a single run.

Bolles earned four RBIs and four hits during the tournament. Senior Carson Frakes earned four RBIs against Fort Osage. Freshman Jackson Helberg earned seven hits and four RBIs, including three hits and three RBIs in the win over Central.

Kearney will face Grandview 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 at Grandview High School before hosting Raytown South 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 21. The Bulldogs will play Ruskin 4 p.m. Monday, April 26 at Ruskin High School.

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or mac.moore@mycouriertribune.com.

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