BURLINGTON JUNCTION, Mo. – Senior Parker Ogle took the mound Friday night for the final time in Burlington Junction. The three-year Rocket starter pitched five innings, allowing five runs in West Nodaway’s 13-1 loss to North Andrew.
“Last year Parker contributed so much to help us go 8-8 and win our first postseason game that this school has seen in I don’t know how long and it’s going to hurt losing him,” Rockets coach Jacob Sunderman said. “Missing Parker is going to be huge, Parker is constantly helping the younger kids, helping me in practice get the younger kids going and anything I ask him to do, he does it.”
Ogle wasn’t the only senior honored on Friday night—the team also said goodbye to Dylan Carden. Carden has missed a lot of time with a hurt hamstring, but his contribution to the team over the last two years will be sorely missed by Sunderman.
“I got him to go out last year and you could just tell from day one into districts his improvement and then he just worked so much over the summer to get ready for this and then hurt his hammy,” Sunderman said. “He just hasn’t been 100 percent all year, but both of them have been so huge to this ball team.”
West Nodaway kept pace with the Cardinals early on in the game. Ogle and North Andrew starter Orlo Simmons combined for eight strikeouts through the first two innings and just one hit. Simmons was unhittable through three innings, striking out nine Rockets in a row.
“We just didn’t hit today, all year we’ve been hitting, but this year is probably our first game we didn’t hit,” Sunderman said. “Orlo throws good, he throws fast. He’s probably the best pitcher we’ve seen all year.”
Ogle struggled with his command in the top of the third, walking the first three batters of the inning. North Andrew’s Nic Crets put the first dent in the scoreboard with a two-run double. Ogle put a pause on the bleeding with a strikeout, but the next, Hunter Simmons, drove in two more runs with a double. Ogle retired the next two batters, holding the Cardinals to a 4-0 lead.
“That third inning, he just started walking a couple of kids and that has just been our Achilles heel all season and once they started getting some walks, they started getting some hits and started getting some timely runs,” Sunderman said.
The West Nodaway offense was unable to score any runs in the bottom of the fourth, but they were able to get their fist hit off of Orlo Simmons. Ogle allowed two hits in the top of the fifth but got out of the jam with two fly outs to right and center field.
North Andrew had their biggest inning in the top of the sixth, scoring five runs on five hits. The Cardinals scored four more runs in the top of the seventh on three hits.
Hunter Dawson led off the bottom of the seventh with a single — just the second hit of the game for the Rockets. Dawson scored after stealing second and third base, scoring on an errant throw to third.
West Nodaway will close out the regular season on Monday with a road game at DeKalb and then start district play on May 10 with Platte Valley in Guilford.
“We’ve still got at least two more games, one Monday and then districts and hopefully we can get a win and keep their season going,” Sunderman said.