Washburn Rural's baseball team didn't get the win it was looking for in Tuesday's season-opener, with Gardner-Edgerton taking a 3-2 nailbiter over the Junior Blues at Rural.

But Rural coach Jay Mastin, whose team entered the 2024 campaign with numerous holes to fill, particularly in its pitching staff, saw a lot of positives that he hopes the Junior Blues can build on moving forward.

BradenHauschelBASEBALL 2Senior Braden Hauschel pitched five solid innings for Washburn Rural in Tuesday's 3-2 season-opening loss to Gardner-Edgerton. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

ConnorWellsBASEBALL 2Washburn Rural senior catcher Connor Wells tags out Gardner-Edgerton's Gracen Crowder at home in Tuesday's 3-0 Trailblazer win over the Junior Blues. [Photo by Doug Walker/Special to TSN]

Washburn Rural played error-free baseball and got solid pitching performances from seniors Braden Hauschel and Braden Ailslieger but managed only three hits against three Trailblazer pitchers and was unable to fully take advantage of the scoring opportunities it was afforded through five hit batters and four walks.

"From last year's pitching staff we return one player who threw one inning so we're pretty much brand new on the mound and had to fill a few spots on the field and in the batting order, too,'' Mastin said. "I was really impressed with Braden Hauschel on the mound today. He was injured all last year and to see him out there and give us five innings and keep us in the game I was really proud of his effort today and then Ailslieger came in and pitched a couple of good innings of relief to give us a shot there at the end.

"At the plate we got some runners on base but we couldn't do much with them and couldn't move them over and the four double play balls that we hit into was a big factor.''

Rural, which is coming off a 7-13 record last season, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second when the Junior Blues scored two runs on two hits and three walks.

BrantonDeWeeseBASEBALL 1Washburn Rural senior Branton DeWeese (1) is congratulated by senior Kyle Walker (6) after scoring the Junior Blues' first run in Tuesday's 3-2 season-opening loss to Gardner-Edgerton. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Senior Kaeden Fenton singled to drive in senior Branton DeWeese, who led off the inning with a single, with Rural's first run and senior Kyle Walker drew a bases loaded walk to force home the Junior Blues' second run.

The lead didn't last long, however, with Gardner-Edgerton scoring all three of its runs in its next at bat.

The Trailblazers got a two-run double from junior Clayton Anderson and also got a double from junior Chase Bojanski while also drawing a pair of walks.

Washburn Rural had baserunners in each of the first five innings but hit into four double plays, including three that ended innings, before Gardner-Edgerton senior reliever Andrew McCarthy sat down Rural one-two-three in the sixth and seventh.


Gardner-Edgerton (1-0) 003 000 0 -- 3 4 0

Washburn Rural (0-1)     020 000 0 -- 2 3 0

Veeman, Thompson (2), McCarthy (6) and Swaim. Hauschel, Ailslieger (6) and Wells. W -- Thompson. L -- Hauschel. 2B -- Gardner-Edgerton: Bojanski, Anderson. 

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