Webb City baseball team beats Branson 11-3

Mar. 19—WEBB CITY, Mo. — Webb City used two hits, two hit batters, and a walk to take advantage of a first-inning error and score three runs in the opening frame.

That was enough for starting pitcher Luke Beverlin to pitch the Cardinals into the fourth inning with a 7-2 lead.

"Luke's a kid we're going to expect a lot of this year," Webb City head coach Andrew Doennig said. "He pitched a little bit for us on the weekend last year. But he's going to be one of our top two guys and he's got the stuff to do it."

Webb City kept that lead and built on it the rest of the way for an 11-3 victory over Branson on Tuesday evening at Barnes Field in Webb City.

Beverlin struck out seven batters in 3 2/3 innings and earned the win.

"He's got the ability to make people swing and miss. He's got a plus changeup and once he gets his breaking ball going he'll be even better," Doennig said.

The Cardinals' starter struck out two batters in the first, two more in the second, one in the third and both outs in the fourth inning were strikeouts. Five batters went down swinging.

"He did a good job," Branson head coach Kirk Harryman said. "Every time we'd score a couple runs, give Webb City credit, they'd come back and hit the baseball. And we didn't help ourselves out defensively a whole lot."

The Pirates were charged with four errors in the contest.

Brett Korth came in to close it out, allowing three runs in 3 1/3 innings. Korth struck out three batters, allowed two hits, walked one and hit another.

Andrew Young led the game off with a high chopper to Branson shortstop Ryder Schroeder, who elected to wait on the hop and had to rush his throw that went high of the first baseman Andrew Bristow.

Sam Weller and Shaun Hunt followed that up with back-to-back singles to make it 1-0.

Drew Vonder Haar was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Then Christian Brock chopped a ball to first base and Bristow's only play was to step on his bag and another Cardinal run came across the plate in Weller.

Hunt scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch by the Pirates' Hunter Jones.

"Early in the year you just try to get your wins whenever you can get them," Doennig said. "This game we came out and swung it pretty well in the first inning. ... We've talked about that as one of our jobs. We want to score early and score often."

Trailing 4-0 in the top of the third inning, Schroeder struck a ball deep and over the fence in right field to get Branson on the board. The lefty turned on a pitch and made it 4-1.

"We've been looking for that spark offensively and unfortunately we didn't get enough of it today," Harryman said.

Branson added a second run in the same inning with a double into deep right center field as Will Funderburk sat on a pitch and powered it into the opposite field.

Weller added two more with a single to drive in Hunter Shull and Andrew Young in the home half of the frame and put Webb City up 6-2. Weller later scored in the inning as his steal of third base drew a throw from Branson catcher Aaron Strohm and the ball wound up in left field, allowing Weller to push the score up to 7-2.

"Webb City pitched it, hit it and ran the bases better than we did and that's why we lost," Harryman said. "It's baseball. We'll go back to work tomorrow and see what we can do to get better. Hopefully when we play them again it will be a little close."

The top of the Webb City lineup led the offense with 10 of the team's 16 hits. Weller, Hunt and Vonder Haar had three apiece from the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the lineup. Leadoff batter Young added one hit.

"Great job by those guys, offensively. Sammy (Weller) had a home run last night down in Bentonville (Arkansas). Shaun (Hunt) had two hits last night. I think Drew (Vonder Haar) had two hits last night," Doennig said. "Andrew Young getting on base in front of them is a big deal."

Branson got two hits each from Kaleb Vejraska and Strohm.

Webb City (2-0) plays again Thursday at home against Springdale High School of Springdale, Arkansas. The Cardinals began the season with an 11-5 win at Bentonville High School in Bentonville, Arkansas.