When Paris varsity pitcher Chris Ebbesmeyer stepped to the mound at North Shelby in non-Lewis and Clark Conference competition on Tuesday, he found out the hard way, as anyone in his position would, that he wasn't immediately throwing darts.
That meant creativity was at a premium, and because catcher, Clayton Langerud, had taken a fastball to the dome and his replacement, Ethan Chapman, had never caught a varsity game before, everything could have fallen apart either right then and there or shortly-there-after. That isn't how how first-year coach Jim Beaver does business, though. Instead the Coyotes, got knocked down, got back up and worked their way to a 16-3 victory.
"We didn’t let situations get to us. We didn’t let it impact our focus," said Beaver. "We held our heads up and powered through. The first and fifth innings are great examples. We were in tight spots and worked to get out of them; they score three, we come right back and score four. Our catcher (Langerud) got hit in the back of the head with a fastball; was a little light headed. He will be fine. Ethan Chapman had never caught varsity before; He stepped up and caught the last two innings. Did fine."
Langerud did manage to make the most of his time on the field by going 1-for-1 with a walk and a RBI in addition to getting hit by that pitch, and he was definitely still in the lineup in the second inning when Paris put the initial run on the scoreboard. He was also deep in the mix in the third when the Coyotes blew up all over North Shelby for nine runs, as well as the fourth when they again stretched that lead to 11-0 thanks to players like Mac Baladenski also going 2-for-5 with a run and one RBI.
"Our infielders had some bobbles on a few ground balls, (but) they never looked hurried or frantic, picked it up and made the throw for the outs. When (Langerud) went out guys stepped up. We didn’t let one thing impact the next," Beaver said. "Our approach at the plate was as good as it has been in a while. We were disciplined; we didn’t help them out by swinging at balls. We were aggressive and swinging the bat if the pitch was in the zone."
The mound work wasn't any easy task by any standard, either, but Ebbesmeyer did get the decision for Paris backed up by Adam Forrest's key role in relief. The duo also did well to help themselves out at the plate and Ebbesmeyer swung the bat like he was being attacked. The end result was a 2-for-4 performance with three runs, two RBI and a steal.
Forrest, on the other hand, may have been slightly more metered in his approach, going 1-for-4 with two RBI, one walk, one steal and a run, but the results were just as undeniable.
"Ebbesmeyer got the start, going five innings for the win. Forrest came in to throw the sixth to finish it off," said Beaver. "Chris had not been on the mound in a game in a while and was a little rusty to start. He worked out of a bases loaded jam in the first after walking two and hitting one, but got back in the zone to get a strikeout to end the inning. The next three innings Ebbesmeyer and the defense behind him was excellent. Chris threw a total of 31 pitches, facing the minimum."
The second-seeded Coyotes, 5-5 overall, won't actually start Class 2, District 13, until Monday at 7:30 p.m. when they take on the winner of number-three Clopton, 4-5 overall, and number-six Mark Twain, which face-off today at 5:00 p.m. Elsewhere in this same bracket Van-Far, 3-9 overall, also commences districts today as the fourth seed at 2:30 p.m. at Silex against Louisiana, which is seeded fifth and has a record of 3-10 overall. The winner advances to play the host Owls May 13, 8-3 overall, at 5:00 p.m.
The title game will then take place on May 15 at 6:00 p.m.