Knights, Lady Knights split with Sheldon
By Eric Wade
Daily Mail Sports Editor
The Northeast Vernon County Knights and Lady Knights baseball and softball teams got back into action Wednesday, hosting the Panthers and Lady Panthers of Sheldon High School and finished the day with mixed results.
The Knights opened the day with a game in which the Sheldon pitching staff held them in check throughout nearly the contest's entire duration, ultimately resulting in a 7-2 victory for the Panthers. In the softball game, neither team's offense had much trouble, but the Lady Knights came out on top of what turned out to be a slugfest, taking a 17-10 victory.
In the baseball game, neither squad was able to get much going in the early innings, as starting pitchers Mitchell Longstreth and Zach Enochs had their way with the opposing offenses. Northeast Vernon County eventually drew first blood in the contest, plating one run on two hits in the third inning.
Despite heading into the top of the fourth with a one-run lead, Longstreth was unable to keep the Sheldon offense at bay any longer. Thanks to his third hit batter of the game, three Sheldon hits and the third and fourth errors of the day for the Knights, Longstreth quickly saw what was a one-run lead turn into a four-run deficit as head coach Jason Irwin's offense exploded for five runs in the frame.
The Knights cut into that lead a bit in the home half of the fifth, plating another single run on one hit and Sheldon's only error of the day.
Longstreth's day came to an end after facing and walking just one hitter, handing over the pitching duties to Michael Weisensee. After Longstreth's exit, the Panthers' offense showed a bit of life once again, plating a pair of runs -- one of which was charged to Longstreth -- on two hits in the frame.
Longstreth's finished the day allowing six runs on four hits with 11 strikeouts, six walks and four hit batters in five-plus innings of work to take the loss. Weisensee finished the contest allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts and a hit batter in two innings.
In the home half of the sixth, Enochs saw his day come to an end in similar fashion after he walked the first batter he faced in the frame. His replacement, Micah Swanson, had little trouble dispatching the Knights' offense for the remainder of the game, shutting the home team down almost completely.
By the time all was said and done, Enochs finished the day allowing two runs on three hits with six strikeouts and six walks in five-plus innings to earn the victory. Swanson finished the contest without allowing a hit in two scoreless innings, with two strikeouts and a walk.
In the softball game, things went much better for the Lady Knights as they were able to get to Sheldon starter Destiny Shelton early and often. Though the Lady Knights did draw first blood in the contest with two runs on three hits in the top of the first inning, the Lady Knights cut that deficit in half in the bottom of the second and went on to score almost at will through the remainder of the contest.
By the time all was said and done, the Lady Panthers had plated 10 runs in a game in which they had no trouble getting their offense going against NEVC starter Karleigh Conner, but still ultimately fell short. The Lady Knights had even more success on the offensive side of the ball, plating 17 runs in the contest to take the seven-run victory.
Both the Knights and Lady Knights were scheduled to be back in action Thursday, hosting the Hornets and Lady Hornets of Hume High School, but those games were called off due to weather and will not be rescheduled. Next on the schedule for the Lady Knights is at 4 p.m., Friday, when they head back out on the road to take on Osceola, while the Knights are off until Tuesday, when they host Montrose, at 4:30 p.m.
Sheldon's softball team's regular season came to an end with Wednesday's contest and head coach Tyler Judd's squad is now set to be off until Tuesday, when the Class 1, District 12 Tournament begins at Liberal. The Lady Hornets are scheduled to open the tournament against Lakeland, at 2 p.m.
Sheldon's baseball team is scheduled to be back in action at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, heading back out on the road to take on Hume.