Eldon's Snelling deals a shutout in win over Osage
Eldon senior pitcher Fisher Snelling may have had this game circled on his calendar for quite some time.
Waiting for two years to avenge a loss against rival School of the Osage due to the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling the 2020 season, the senior hurler got his wish Monday night. Snelling got the call on the mound and dealt a shutout on the road in a 5-0 win over the Indians.
“We came back out and did the work necessary. Had my defense behind me and we got the bats going a little bit tonight so that is all I can ask for,” the senior said. “All that help from my teammates really pushed me forward.”
Turns out, the senior helped his own cause, too, with a pair of hits and RBIs for the Mustangs while sophomore Kasen Bashore also drove in a pair of runs off an error and freshman Jacob Bishop had two hits and an RBI. That proved to be more than enough as Snelling went the distance, pitching all seven innings where he allowed five hits, walked two and struck out eight. It was the first time this season that Eldon coach Chad Hinds did not need to call in another pitcher.
“First game for Fisher all season that he finally pitched like he is capable of pitching. His previous outings he did fine, just wasn’t the same Fisher as before,” Hinds noted as the team is finally getting back in the swing of things after two long years.
“Today coming out, it may have been because it’s Osage,” the coach said of the rival, “but hopefully we’ll use this game to get back on the right track. He went out and competed, went after batters, trusted his defense and ended up with a shutout.”
And going seven innings, some pitchers may eventually start to become tired. All Snelling found was adrenaline and he smiled coming off the field as the game ended on a double play.
“That adrenaline does wonders,” he said as he went deeper into the contest and began to eat the innings up. “Tell you what, you get on the mound and you don’t want to come off. They have to pull you out of there with a rope.”
Bashore put the Mustangs on the board in the second inning with a drive to center field that was dropped and the error allowed a pair of runs to come home on a play that would have ended the top half of the inning. Osage ended up with five errors on the day.
“Better communication on defense and just making sure of one thing at a time, being sure of our feet and doing the little things right,” Osage coach David Flaspohler said of his team’s need to clean up the miscues.
Things stayed relatively quiet until the fifth when freshman Hunter Hees started the Eldon bats with a leadoff double that was followed by an RBI double from Snelling to make it 3-0. Cline stepped in and delivered an RBI single as well to extend the lead to 4-0 before Snelling’s RBI single in the sixth ended the scoring for the day. Hinds was glad to see his team display an aura of confidence at the plate Monday night.
“That is what they battled at the beginning of the season. I don’t think a lot of them had a lot of confidence, thinking too much at the plate,” the coach remarked. “Again, using this game to get us back on track on where we should be. Having an approach at the plate is a big thing right now. Get a guy on, do your thing, move him over, don’t swing your shoes and just one pitch at a time.”
Osage senior pitcher Tyler Klee went 4 1/3 innings allowing four runs, two earned, on four hits while walking and striking out three. Sophomore Dalton Wall did the rest, allowing an earned run on two hits while striking out two.
Meanwhile, the underclassmen sought to give the Indians an offensive spark. Sophomores Ryan King, Trey Johnson, Konner Vaughn and Wall along with freshman Tyler Shull all posted a hit, but Osage could not find home plate leaving a pair of runners in scoring position while also failing to capitalize on Eldon’s pair of errors in the contest.
“Hats off to him, he went the distance tonight,” Flaspohler said of Snelling. “They out hit us and we have to take a better approach at the plate. Snelling did a very good job of working ahead of our hitters and that made us pretty defensive.”
Working with Assistant Coach Jacob Koelling, Snelling said he went back to trusting his fastball to get those first-pitch strikes to get ahead and he feels comfortable with that moving forward. Flaspohler took notice as well from the other dugout and said the key to combating that is to attack ahead and attack early.
“He had a fastball and only threw his curveball maybe a dozen times tonight. So, using all parts of the field is going to have to be a different approach for us instead of trying to catch it off our front foot,” Flaspohler noted.
Eldon (3-9, 1-1 Tri-County Conference) was scheduled to visit conference foe Southern Boone (10-1) on Tuesday and will stay in conference play hosting Boonville (2-3) on Thursday at 5 p.m.
“They got some things to work on, but they are getting there. It is a young ball club and we just have to keep this going,” Hinds said. Just one game at a time and if they can play like they did today, should be good things to watch from here on out.”
Snelling is certainly not in a rush, enjoying his final high school baseball season.
“Next game, just focus for the next game,” the senior stated. “This all we got to think about. We can’t be thinking ahead and can’t look past any team because any team will beat us on any given day.”
Osage (4-3, 0-3 Tri-County Conference) was scheduled to host Richland (2-3) for Senior Night on Tuesday and will jump back into conference play Thursday hosting California (8-2) at 5 p.m. For a team comprised of 12 underclassmen on a roster of 18, Flaspohler just wants to see that continued growth and development.
“We know that everyone makes districts and it depends on what we do there. So, growth every day and just having a young team, if we can keep growing and learning from those mistakes these kids are going to be fine,” the coach pointed out.
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-346-2132