By RON PRESTON
The Abilene Cowboys baseball team dropped a North Central Kansas League double header to Wamego at Ted Power Field Friday.
The Red Raiders won the first game 10-5, taking advantage of a shaky defensive performance by the Cowboys as the Cowboys committed six errors in the opener but out hit Wamego seven hits to five.
“We’ve seen better days,” Cowboy Coach Travis Bartley said following the game.
“Taking care of the baseball has been our main problem this year,” he said.
Hunter Combes took the mound for the Cowboys in game one. He would surrender 10 runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out one Wamego batter. The Red Raiders also reached base three times on hit batsmen.
Wamego scored two runs in the top of the first, added one in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth and two in the sixth inning and Chris Cease relieved Combes to get the final out of the inning and get the Red Raiders in order in the top of the seventh.
The Cowboys answered with two runs in the third with Combes leading off with a solid single to right. Matt McClanahan followed with a drive to left that was misplayed by Red Raider leftfielder and following another Wamego error, both Combes and McClanahan scored making the score 6-2 Wamego.
Abilene scored three runs in the fifth inning on two Red Raider errors to make the score 8-5 Wamego.
The Cowboys started the sixth inning staging a come-from-behind attempt with Tanner Hoekman reaching first on an error, Carson Sherbert singling to left to advance Hoekman to second with no outs. Colton Mills lined a hard hit ball that the Red Raider second baseman nabbed out of the air and was able to turn the rarely seen triple play by doubling up both Hoekamn and Sherbert to end the inning.
It was senior night for the Cowboys and between games the seniors, Matt McClanahan, Dakota Cody, Nolan Berry, Trenton Roth and student managers Amber Garza and Kaylea Nelson were honored and recognized along with their parents by coach Bartley.
Nolan Berry took the hill for the Cowboys in game two.
Berry got the Red Raiders in order in the first and the Cowboys took a 2-0 lead in the game in their half of the inning.
The Cowboys scored two runs in the first without a hit. They took advantage of three Red Raider errors and a fielder’s choice by Grant Prichard to take the early lead in the game.
Wamego scored a run in the top of the second to make the score 2-1 Cowboys.
From there it was all Red Raiders as they added 11 more runs on seven hits and five Cowboy errors to win game two 12-2 in six innings.
The Cowboys were able to get only one hit off of Red Raider starter Chase Kallenbach in the nightcap.
Mills hit a two-out single to left for Abilene’s lone hit of the contest.
“Once the team got down in both games our focus shut down,” coach Bartley said.
“And really tonight, I don’t know if we were really prepared to play tonight, whether it was the cold or we didn’t want to be here, I just don’t know what it was,” he said.
“We weren’t ready from the get go. How we change this, I am not sure at this point, they either want to or they don’t. We’ve got to take care of the baseball and because of the errors that kill any chance of staying in the game and the errors just killed us,” Bartley added.
“Mentally it is tough to come back and we weren’t in the game from the get go – it just killed us today,” he said.
“We’ve got to put it together as a team, pitching, hitting and especially defense if we want to get anywhere,” Bartley concluded.
The Cowboys fell to 8-12 on the season and will travel to Concordia for a conference double header on Thursday and then await their regional assignment for next week.
Wamego 2 1 3 2 0 2 0 -10-5-5
Abilene 0 0 2 0 3 0 0 – 5-6-6
WP: Ayres LP: Combes (1-5)
Wamego 0 1 4 2 2 3 – 12-8-5
Abilene 2 0 0 0 0 0 - 2-1-5
WP: Kallenback LP: Berry (5-2)