FORT SCOTT -- A short-handed Fort Scott High baseball team managed a split with Chanute in the final regular-season games at Lions Field Thursday night. The Tigers won the opener of the Southeast Kansas League doubleheader 6-4 but Chanute took the nightcap 6-2.
Tiger head coach Josh Regan had to assemble a new lineup as three seniors were out with injuries or illness.
"Dustin Stewart has mono, Luke Brown tweaked his knee on Tuesday against Iola, and Justin Uhler is fighting shoulder tendonitis," Regan said. "So we started five freshmen each game, and had a couple of guys playing out of position. Considering all that adversity, I am really proud of our guys. They played free and loose for the most part, and we did a lot of good things. They could've showed up and laid down. But every guy on our team showed up ready to battle and win two games. They showed a lot of guts."
The Tigers (8-8 SEK, 9-11 overall) needed only 3 hits to win game one as Blue Comet pitching allowed eight batters free passes via either walks or hitting them with pitches. They scored 5 of their runs in the third inning on one hit, three walks, a hit batter and an error.
Chanute scored their runs over the final three innings but pitcher Ryan Pickert (3-2) was able to hold off the Comets for the most part and Caleb Moore came in to a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation in the top of the sixth and got out of it with a fielder's choice, a strikeout and a groundout to second.
"Ryan Pickert was great in game one and in game two, Wyatt Reehl settled into a groove and gave us some good innings, too," Regan said." Caleb Moore came in and shut the door in game 1 and Dane Cummings also had a good relief outing." Zach Denton, Jacob Durossette and Wyatt Reehl had the Tigers hits. Mason Knopp scored twice.
The Comets (9-7, 9-11) scored 4 runs in the top of the first inning of the second game. Fort Scott responded with 2 in the second but Chanute added insurance runs in the fourth.
Knopp had 2 hits for the Tigers in the nightcap. One of those drove in both Tiger runs.
"Offensively we were hot and cold, but that has been the story all year," Regan said. "If we can get some guys healthy, I really believe that we have a shot to make a run in our regional. And that's all you can ask for."
The Tigers finished fifth in the Southeast Kansas League one game behind Chanute. Independence clinched a share of the title Tuesday night and Pittsburg joined the Bulldogs up top Thursday night. Friday night games at Columbus determined whether Iola would join those two and create the first three-way tie for the baseball title since league play began in 1988.
Fort Scott will go to Ottawa Monday to take on third-seeded Paola in the first round of a Class 4A Regional Tournament. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
NOTES -- The Friday night doubleheader between Iola and Columbus was also the last league event for both schools as members of the Southeast Kansas League. Iola will switch to the Pioneer League next season while Columbus will join the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee Conference. Both were league-founding members in 1927, although Iola left for a short time in the 1930s....
Chanute...... 000 012 1 -- 4 7 3
Fort Scott... 005 010 x -- 6 3 3
WP -- Pickert (3-2). LP -- Haynes. Sv. -- Moore (1).
Chanute..... 400 200 0 -- 6 3 1
Fort Scott.. 020 000 0 -- 2 5 4
WP -- Keenan. LP -- Reehl (0-1).