The Leavenworth Pioneers were set to open their season last Wednesday at home against Veritas Christian but field conditions caused the game to be delayed and moved. Instead, the game was played at Hoglund Ballpark on the campus of the University of Kansas Friday.
Leavenworth would defeat Veritas Christian 12-4 to pick up their first win of the season.
“I thought the whole team came together and played well,” senior Kruz Wahwahsuck said. “Everyone picked each other up and did great.”
Head coach Justin Bode said Wahwahsuck started on the mound for the Pioneers and pitched five “solid” innings with only one run allowed.
“We made some mistakes defensively,” Bode said. “But he battled and pitched out of tough situations.”
The head coach said Leavenworth “woke up” on offense in the fourth inning with guys getting on base. Bode said a major emphasis this season is aggressive base running, which he said the team implemented Friday.
“I thought we played very well,” senior Robert McKinley said. “We went out there wanting to be aggressive on the bases and that's what we did. Kruz gave us a great start and kept us in a one-run ballgame until our offense figured things out in the fourth. Offensively, we figured out that if we wanted to score runs they weren't just going to happen, we had to make them happen. Great win, but still many more games to be played. On to the next game now.”
Bode said the best part of the game for him was all 17 players on the roster got playing time and contributed. He also credited his assistants.
“We created a game plan going into the game and executed it very well,” senior Steele Sadler said. “Being aggressive on the base paths, putting the ball in play, fielding our positions cleanly ... we did all that. Everyone in the lineup, top to bottom, stepped up and contributed. Even some underclassmen came up clutch. (Friday’s) game is just a glimpse of what the new LV baseball is going to look like.”
Eric Harding went 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored. Ja’Hawn Byrd was 2-for-5 with a triple, four RBI and two runs scored. Wesley Redelberger went 1-for-1 with an RBI and four stolen bases and Devon Bruning was 1-for-1 with a run scored. The freshman also pitched two innings, allowing only one run.
Senior Christian Torres said the players are still trying to figure out what fits for this year’s team but he had full confidence in the team Friday.
“It is a new year with new players,” Torres said, “So we are trying to figure out what fits and what doesn't. (Friday), no matter who walked out on the field, I had full confidence in them. I believed in everyone from our freshmen to our seniors.”
Leavenworth returns to the field Thursday when they host De Soto at Sportsfield Park. The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.