Jeremy Gaston | Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY—It was a last minute opportunity, but Osage
City jumped right on it.
West Franklin County High School, who was scheduled to open
the Indians season today in Pomona, asked the Indians if they
would be interested in playing the season opener at Community
America Ballpark, home of the Kansas City T-Bones minor league
The team, members of the community and local businesses rallied
together to bring the opportunity to life. Just a couple weeks
later, Osage City senior Jake McFarland delivered the opening
pitch from the T-Bones infield.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Osage City Head Coach
Matt Marple. “It’s a beautiful field and set up.
Those kids will remember that for life.”
The Indians made the trip with neighboring West Franklin, splitting
games with the Falcons in a 4-3 loss and a 16-6 win.
Jake McFarland pitched a complete game in the opener, facing
26 batters with 6 hits, 6 strikeouts and 3 walks.
“He took a hard loss,” Marple said. “Those
are the ones you hate to lose. He had them off balance all night.
We should have had a win but didn’t.”
Osage City bounced back in the second game with a 16-6 win.
Pitching remained consistent, with C.J. Marple delivering 7
hits, 5 strikeouts and 2 walks against 24 batters, but the Indians’
hitting picked up considerably.
“We played much better,” Marple said. “It
just took some timely hitting.”
Jake McFarland paved the way, converting his only hit of the
night on an infield grand slam, hitting the back fence of a
deep outfield. He led the team on the evening with 6 RBIs.
Tracer Paul was consistent at the plate, hitting 5 for 8 on
the night with a walk; Marple was 3 for 8 with a walk; and Dalton
Swindale had a double and a triple in the second game.
“We did play better defense,” Marple said. “Trey
Fort had two stellar plays at third. With sophomores at third,
shortstop and second, our infield defense was really pretty
“Zane Martin was also solid in the outfield,” Marple
added. “He really ran the alleys well, and got to every
ball I’d expect him to get to. He might have found him
a spot in center.”
Despite the solid win in the nightcap, Marple still would have
liked to take home two wins.
“We’re beyond the moral victory,” Marple said.
“Coming back in the second game showed some resolve, but
as the reigning champs, you hate to lose any against league
“The great thing about baseball is sometimes the better
team doesn’t win,” Marple said. “I felt that
way in the first game. Jake pitched a great game, we made some
defensive plays, but a walk at the wrong times and it jumps
up and bites you. That’s why baseball’s a great
The 1-1 finish was good enough for the Indians to remain focused
on the experience.
“It was a little surreal sitting in the stands,”
Marple said. “For some of the sophomores, it was the first
baseball they played at the varsity level, and it was in that
atmosphere against a great team. It was a lot of fun.”
Although Coach Marple will be retiring from the team after this
season, he hopes the Indians will make a tradition of opening
the season at the ballpark.
“I’d like it to be something we continue,”
Marple said. “You’ve got to hand it to the community.
Without them, we couldn’t have done this. The kids will
have memories forever of that park on that night. It was very
The Indians will play Council Grove at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at