Iola trounces Indy in opener

The Iola High baseball team got behind the play of some of their senior leaders to take down Independence in a lopsided season-opening win on Tuesday. Brandon McKarnin threw four innings of shutout ball and Jarrett Herrmann sparked a fiery fifth inning with a three-run homer.



March 22, 2023 - 2:51 PM

Iola’s Brandon McKarnin hurls a pitch in a season-opening victory over Independence on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Quinn Burkitt

The Iola High baseball team put on a show for the home crowd when they took down Independence 12-2 in the Mustangs’ season opener Tuesday afternoon. 

The senior Mustangs played a large part. Brandon McKarnin threw four innings of hitless, shutout baseball. Jarrett Herrmann also belted a three-run dinger in a big offensive fifth inning to seal the win. 

McKarnin had four strikeouts before Mac Leonard came on in relief. 

“I thought Brandon (McKarnin) was awesome, he’s a competitive kid,” Iola head coach Levi Ashmore said. “Early on it was cold and windy and he had trouble finding the zone but he found ways to get outs and compete. I thought as he went on he got better and figured it out.”

“There started to be more strikes and he started going to the off-speed more,” Ashmore continued. “When he settled in we wanted to get him one more inning and some confidence.”

Korbin Cloud and Landon Weide got on base early which allowed Tre Wilson to rip a two-run fly ball to shortstop which Wilson reached on due to error. Iola led Indy early, 2-0. 

Iola struck again in the bottom of the fourth when Wilson drove home Cloud on an error at second base which he reached again for a 3-0 lead. Another couple of runs scored in the fourth when Herrmann walked with the bases loaded and McKarnin had a sacrifice fly. 

Leonard stepped up to the plate again in the bottom of the fourth and plated a couple of runs on a two-run single to left field. Gavin Jones and Herrmann came around to score on the contact for the 7-0 lead. 

“It’s nice as a coach when you’re standing in the third base box and every guy that comes up you’re happy about,” Ashmore said. “Every single guy that walks to the plate you feel like you have a chance to get to first base and to score a run, do something good.”

“The fact that we’ve got nine good players in the lineup, it feels like we’re never in a bad spot,” Ashmore continued. 

Independence scored a couple of runs in the top of the fifth when Easton Ewing roped a two-run double down the left field line to make it a 7-2 game. 

The runs were put on Leonard’s tab on the mound as he allowed two runs and one hit through the fifth. He struck out two.  

Herrmann stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth up 7-2 and quickly delivered with a monstrous three-run home run over the right field wall to seal the deal and make it a 10-2 ballgame. Cloud and Wilson scored on the homer. 

“It was sweet. It was fun because we were talking about using the big part of the field, staying back and getting good offensive swings and the next at-bat that’s what happened,” said Ashmore. “He got a good pitch he could handle in the zone and put a good swing on it.”

Leonard shot a sacrifice fly to center field to plate McKarnin. Cloud then walked with the bases loaded two batters later for the final tallies.

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