Mercer Thatcher, Derby baseball

Todd Olmstead can’t help but wonder what a little bit of fine tuning could do for his roster.

It’s a good place to stand for any program, considering it opened the season 3-1 and has four hitters that are hitting .400 or better through its first four games.

Derby swept its season-opening doubleheader against Ark City, 11-1 and 10-6, before splitting a triangular at Wichita State on Saturday, April 3. It opened its day with a 6-0 win over Life Prep Academy before dropping the finale against Bishop Carroll, 5-3.

“We’ve got a top six guys [atop our lineup] and we feel really good about them,” Olmstead said. “We’ve mixed and matched the bottom three, allowing us to find a true No. 1-9. Each of the top guys in the order have come through and if we can get three more, who are you going to pitch to?”

That group has also made a habit of starting fast, scoring in the first inning in all four games and answering Ark City in the bottom half of each game on Thursday.

“It’s our top of our order doing work,” Olmstead added.

The depth of the pitching staff also reared its head over the four games.

While starters Grant Ash and Saben Seager were the only two Derby arms used on Saturday, neither gave up an earned run through a combined 13 innings of work. Seager threw seven shutout innings in its win over Life Prep Academy.

The Panther bullpen (Mercer Thatcher, Luke Westerman, Jace Jenkins) was on display against the Bulldogs on April 1, combining for six innings and one earned run through the two wins. Thatcher struck out four in the 10-6 win in 3.2 innings of relief.

Walks hampered starters Mitchell Johnson and Carson Olmstead against Ark City. The Derby coach said they both show a lot of potential if they can take control of their pitch count.

“They threw the ball well, but we had too many walks,” he said of his first two starters. “I told them about how many pitches these walks amount to and it could lead to another inning or two on the mound.”

The biggest benefit is Olmstead believes his four starting pitchers thus far have emerged as four bonafide options moving forward.

“As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, we should be okay,” he said. “We match up with almost anyone, especially with Saben and Ash right now.”

vs. Bishop Carroll (Saturday, April 3)

DERBY 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 – 3 5 3

BC 0 0 0 1 4 0 X – 5 4 0

W: Faber (BC)

L: Ash (DRBY)

2B: Snodgrass, Stewart (DRBY); Unrein, Stonestreet (BC)

RBI: Westerman 2, Liston (DRBY); Unrein 3, Niedens (BC)

vs. Life Prep Academy (Saturday, April 3)

DERBY 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 – 6 8 0

LIFE PREP 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 3 2

W: Seager (DRBY)

L: Robles (LPR)

2B: Westerman (DRBY)

3B: Liston (DRBY)

RBI: Liston 2, Klima, Syring, Westerman (DRBY)

vs. Ark City (Thursday, April 1)

ARK CITY 2 0 2 0 0 1 1 – 6 3 3

DERBY 2 4 4 0 0 0 X – 10 11 5

W: Johnson (DRBY)

L: Bucher (AC)

2B: Snodgrass 2, Westerman, Liston (DRBY); Clark (AC)

HR: Liston (DRBY)

RBI: Liston 3, Snodgrass 2, Westerman 2, Klima, Stewart (DRBY);

vs. Ark City (Thursday, April 1)

ARK CITY 1 0 0 0 0 X X – 1 3 3

DERBY 1 8 1 1 X X X – 11 6 1

W: Olmstead (DRBY)

L: Barnes (AC)

3B: Snodgrass 2 (DRBY)

RBI: Snodgrass 2, Liston 2, Knox 2, Westerman (DRBY); Brooks (AC)