DHSBSB Tanner Knox

Tanner Knox scores a run in a contest earlier this season against Ark City. Knox had a big week, contributing to a balanced offensive performance that helped Derby pick up a pair of series sweeps against Hutchinson and Maize South.

The Panther baseball team had a test on its hands to close out last week, facing a tough Maize South squad in a road doubleheader on April 30.

“Honestly, I was excited but a little worried about playing them because we were tied for the lead in the league. I think that they only had one loss at the time and they had just taken two from Maize; not just taken two, but scored 20 runs against Maize,” said Derby coach Todd Olmstead. “I was anxious. I was a little skeptical.”

As it turns out, Olmstead had little to worry about, as Derby aced its test with flying colors. The Panthers swept the Mavericks on their home field, handing them a pair of lopsided losses (14-1 and 6-1).

Right off the bat, it was clear the Panthers were firing on all cylinders offensively. After Kade Snodgrass was hit by a pitch to start the game, Luke Westerman gave the visitors an early 2-0 lead with a “no doubt” home run on the second pitch. That sparked a seven-running inning for Derby to start the game.

“It was just guy after guy stepping up and really performing well,” Olmstead said. “It’s a momentum type thing. One [thing] kind of leads to another, and then the confidence gets higher. Some of those other guys, I think their confidence has grown and they’re really contributing now and making us a really tough team to pitch against because there’s not an easy out in our lineup.”

Coleson Syring continued his hot streak, notching a home run in his second straight series, while Tanner Knox had multiple extra base hits and four RBIs in the first game. Derby got all the runs it needed in the first three innings of the run-rule shortened contest – a result Olmstead admitted he did not expect.

Grant Ash started things off well on the mound in game one and Saben Seager then took the baton and ran with it in game two, a 6-1 victory for the Panthers.

Seager, part of a stellar starting rotation for DHS, tossed a no-hitter in the second game of the double header. He also tallied what Olmstead projected is a school-record 16 strikeouts in the contest. In fact, it was a dropped ball on a strikeout that allowed the Mavericks’ only run of the game.

“When he’s got it working, and he can throw it for strikes or he can get it to where it’s swing and miss, he’s tough to hit – and he had it going Friday,” Olmstead said.

Given Seager’s performance on the mound, the Panther defense didn’t have to do much behind him, while the offense delivered a four-run fifth inning that all but sealed the sweep. Executing small ball to string those runs together, Reid Liston also had multiple extra base hits in the game. He and Luke Stewart drove in two runs each for the Panthers.

After going toe-to-toe with a strong out-of-state program in Liberty (Mo.), Olmstead said the wins against Maize South may have been even more important for Derby (13-3) since they came against top local talent.

“I think these were really big because they were against guys that the kids know, and they know that Maize South is good. To get a sweep against them is big for us. I think it does matter a little bit more for the fact that it is in our area,” Olmstead said. “I’m hoping that we just continue to ride this little wave and keep finding ways to score runs.”

Panthers take two from Hutch

While Derby got off to a slow start in makeup games against Hutchinson, it was still able to complete a road sweep of its league foe on April 27, winning 4-1 and 12-2.

Offensively, the Panthers had a balanced performance from top to bottom, capping off the night with an explosive performance. Syring, Snodgrass and Karson Klima all tallied home runs in the second game of the doubleheader.

vs. Maize South (April 30)

DERBY 7 3 4 0 0 x x – 14 9 2

MZSO 0 0 0 1 0 x x – 1 4 3

W: Ash (DRYB)

L: McFarland (MZSO)

2B: Knox, Syring (DRBY)

3B: Knox (DRBY)

HR: Syring, Westerman (DRBY)

RBI: Knox 4, Liston, Snodgrass, Syring 4, Westerman 2 (DRBY); Clyne (MZSO)

vs. Maize South (April 30)

DERBY 0 1 0 0 4 1 0 – 6 9 0

MZSO 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 – 1 0 2

W: Seager (DRBY)

L: Geisler (MZSO)

2B: Liston, Snodgrass (DRBY)

3B: Liston (DRBY)

RBI: Liston 2, Stewart 2, Syring, Westerman

vs. Hutchinson (April 27)

DERBY 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 – 4 4 0

HUTCH 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 – 1 4 2

W: Johnson (DRBY)

L: Booe (HUTCH)

vs. Hutchinson (April 27)

DERBY 0 4 3 5 0 x x – 12 13 3

HUTCH 0 1 0 0 1 x x – 2 3 5

W: Olmstead (DRBY)

L: Krol (HUTCH)

HR: Snodgrass, Klima, Syring (DRBY)