A packed Hibbs-Hooten Field at Sellers Park witnessed the Wellington Heat pack in the runs against the Denver Cougars in the season opener, the final score was 10-1.
Last year's Jayhawk Baseball League Pitcher of the Year, Josh Stone, was on the mound for the Heat, he threw on a pitch count, for six innings, allowing no runs.
The Heat's batters, who had 10 hits on the night, went to work in the bottom of the second. Trevor Long, third base, from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, hit a grounder up the middle to get on first.
TC Mark, Designated HItter, from South Mountain Community College, knocked the ball straight to third, it was mishandled, allowing Mark to get on base. The runners would advance on a wild pitch thrown to Cole Loncar, outfielder, from Mesa Community College.
Loncar mimicked Mark, the Cougars third baseman also had a repeat performance with another error. Long was able to cross the plate; this sequence began a parade of runs, the Heat would score five in the second inning.
Nick Thimesch, outfielder, from Drury University, drove in two runs on a deep ball hit to center field. Jack Spohn, first base, from Point Loma Nazarene College, also had an RBI single in the bottom of the second.
Through the next seven innings, the Heat would double their point total. One run in the fourth, three in the fifth, and one more in the bottom of the eighth. Denver was able to sneak a run in during the eighth as well.
The Heat will take on Denver again on Saturday, June 1 and again on June 3. On Sunday June 2, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Night, and the opening of JBL play. The El Dorado Broncos will be in Wellington. All games start at 7:05 p.m.
Friday's game belonged to Stone, from Tabor College, who pitched six scoreless innings.
"As long as I had my hitters behind me, I knew if they would put runs up on the board, and if I would throw strikes, everything would work out and it did," Stone said after the game. The righty looked poised to follow up his great season from a year ago.
"No matter what you did last season, you've still got to come out and work every single day," he said. "You've just got to do what you can to keep on improving." Heat Head Coach, Adam Niesius was also happy with his starter's performance.
"He did a nice job, that's Josh...he just competes his butt off and throws strikes," Niesius said. "...That's why he was the perfect guy to throw opening day." As far as the other eight positions on Friday, the coach was happy about them as well.
"I think we did okay, there's a couple of things we need to work on, but that's after every game," the coach said. "We did a lot of positive things, we made a lot of really good adjustments at the plate." Heat Owner, and Manager was also pumped up after game one.
Page 2 of 2 - "The difference between this year's club and last year's club is these guys will put the ball in play," Rick Twyman said. "They did the little things tonight." The Heat will put Vince Lujan on the mound for game two against Denver on Saturday – a right-hander from South Mountain Community College. Tywman expects the Cougars to make adjustments for Saturday.
"They made some errors...it's their first game too," he said. Hibbs-Hooten Field was full of fans on Friday. Wellington Mayor, Roger Stallbaumer threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Heat officials were pleased with the turnout.
"I was extremely happy with the crowd, and the atmosphere," Tywman said. There will be plenty of opportunity for the fans to see the Heat play. Their next four games are at home.
"It's exciting, I'm excited for the town," Tywman said. "...Wellington should be happy."