by Connor Wiggins
Patriots Baseball-Voodoo came into the Slumpbuster with just 10 players, but that was more than enough for them to knock off Kansas Crush on Saturday afternoon in 14u D1 action by a score of 10-2.
It would be unfair to blame the 8-run loss the Crush suffered to Voodoo on a lack of hitting. The Crush outhit Voodoo 13-7 in the game, but the athletic defense of Voodoo allowed minimal impact from those swings.
Curry Sutherland started on the mound for Voodoo. Sutherland gave up a quick leadoff single in the top of the first inning to Chase Cottam, but retired the next three to move to the bottom of the inning.
Voodoo struck first in this game in the bottom of the first inning as they scored three runs on only one hit. A leadoff double from Walker Smith was the only hit; Isaac Page walked five batters in the opening inning, and it proved to be costly as Voodoo took a quick 3-0 lead.
Sutherland gave up three hits in the top of the second inning, but his defense was behind him and the Crush weren’t allowed in the scoring column. Sutherland got his second strikeout of the game in the second inning.
The second inning was a big one for Voodoo at the plate as they tallied five more runs to make the score 8-0. Smith tripled, and Sutherland, Gavyn Beckner, and Brock Mooneyham all singled for Voodoo.
Page was taken out of the game with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, and Ty Williams replaced him on the mound. Williams got a pop out to end the damaging inning for the Crush.
The Crush got into the hits column three more times in the third inning with a double from Xavier Alexander and singles from Cottam and Page, but it wasn’t enough as Sutherland earned his third strikeout of the game and the Voodoo defense did not allow a run to come to the plate.
Nothing was going for Voodoo at the plate in the bottom of the third inning. Williams walked two batters in the inning, but the Crush defense stepped up and did not allow Voodoo to build onto their lead any more.
Down 8-0 in the top of the fourth inning, the Crush needed some offense to avoid being run-ruled in the next inning. They got into the hits column three more times in the inning with singles from Jayden Fletcher, Brayden Uphaus, and Williams, but Voodoo only surrendered one run in the inning as Sutherland showed toughness on the mound.
“My two-seam fastball was working for me today,” Sutherland said.
He used that pitch to get out of what could have been a disastrous inning for Voodoo, and retired the last three batters of the inning. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Voodoo scored two more runs on two hits to make it a 10-1 runaway game.
Klayton Kiser stepped onto the mound in the top of the fifth inning in relief for Sutherland, who pitched four full innings for Voodoo. Kiser gave up one run in the inning on three more hits for the Crush, and the game was all but over.
Fletcher didn’t allow another hit as Voodoo came to the plate one last time in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Voodoo had done enough damage to reach the run rule and the game was at its time limit.
After the game, Patriots head coach and former Springfield Cardinals pitcher, Anthony Ferrara, spoke highly of Sutherland’s ability to get out of the fourth inning jam. “He showed a lot of courage,” Ferrara said. “He made the pitches he needed to and competed and got outs.”
Patriots Baseball-QC Voodoo will face VCBA on Sunday at 11:15 a.m. for a chance to play in the 14u Slumpbuster championship game against the winner of Millard United Elite and Omaha Tigers Black.