No. 3 Cashion sinks Latta at 2A State Tournament

May 11—SHAWNEE — The sixth-ranked Latta Panthers got off to a miserable start against No. 3 Cashion during their rain-delayed matchup Thursday night at the Class 2A State Tournament hosted by Shawnee's Memorial Park.

Take an awful top of the first inning away, and the teams still might be playing.

However, the Wildcats scored eight runs in their first at-bat, taking advantage of three walks and three Latta errors in an 11-3 win over the Panthers. Cashion advanced to the semifinals with a 31-5 mark, while Latta's season came to an end at 23-10.

The game, scheduled for a 4 p.m. start time, didn't see its first pitch until 6:37 p.m. due to a pair of weather delays.

There was a scary moment for Latta fans in the top of the seventh inning. Cashion's Maxx Higdon hit a high fly ball to right-center field to lead off the frame and LHS senior Hunter Price moved under the ball and appeared ready to make the catch. But at the last moment, Price lost the ball in the lights and it smacked him in the face. He crumpled to the ground and lay there for a few minutes as officials from both teams rushed to his aid. Price eventually walked off the field on his own power with a towel covering his swollen and bruised face.

Cashion 11, Latta 3

Cashion wasted little time loading the bases in the top of the first inning.

Kellen Smith walked, Cooper Frazee blooped a single into right field and Chance Acord walked to fill the base paths.

Hunter Gibson then hit a flair to center field for a Cashion base hit. He circled first base and was nearly to second before realizing that Acord was standing on the bag and wasn't going anywhere. It appeared he would easily make the first out of the inning, but a throw to Latta first baseman Jonathan Gray sailed into right field. Two more runs scored on that error and Cashion led 3-0.

That was the beginning of the early end for the Panthers.

Cashion's fourth run of the inning scored on another Latta error and Kyle Yowell followed with an RBI single that put the Wildcats on top 5-0.

The final three runs of the inning came with two outs via a run-scoring base hit by Kellen Smith and a two-run RBI single to right field from Frazee that gave Cashion it's 8-0 cushion.

Latta scored twice in the bottom of the first inning. Reese Littlefield led off with a walk, raced to third on a base hit by Landon Fortner, and scored while Cashion turned a momentum-killing double play.

Deakon Smith then reached on a CHS error and later scored on a base knock from Price that cut the Cashion advantage to 8-2.

Landon Wolfe led off the bottom of the second inning with a walk and Kaleb Goodwin reached on his infield hit to the shortstop. A sacrifice bunt from Gestin Pollard moved the runners over and Littlefield walked to load the bases.

Courtesy runner Jake LaMack scored on a passed ball to get Latta within 8-3 but the Panthers stranded runners at second and third.

Latta wouldn't score again but had ample opportunities to get back in the contest. The Panthers ended up leaving 12 runners on base, including nine in scoring position. Latta also failed to take full advantage of six Cashion errors in the contest.

In the bottom of the third inning, Price blasted a one-out triple to lead things off. Darien Miller then hit a slow roller down the first-base line. Relief pitcher Brody Nichols threw the ball to first but Miller was ruled safe after the toss pulled CHS first baseman Derek Sheline off the bag. Sheline quickly fired the ball to third base to throw out Price — who had strayed a little too far off the bag during the play — in a close play.

The Wildcats then began to exit the field, thinking they had turned an unusual inning-ending double play. During the confusion, Miller waltzed down to second base.

Sill, Cashion was able to get out of that inning unscathed.

Goodwin had half of Latta's six total hits in the contest. He finished 3-for-4. Price went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Littlefield reached base every time he came to the plate for the Panthers. He walked three times and was hit by a pitch.

Frazee and Shelne paced a 10-hit Cashion offense with three hits each. Frazee went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored and Sheline finished 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Three Latta pitchers — the starter Pollard and relievers Wolfe and Littlefield — combined for eight strikeouts and 10 walks.

Gibson got the start for Cashion but only threw 35 pitches in 1.1 innings of work. He didn't strike out a batter and walked three. Nichols finished up on the bump for the Wildcats. He struck out three, walked just one and scattered three hits in 5.1 shutout innings.