Mutual respect was abundant in the aftermath of Ozark’s 2-0 Class 5 District 10 semifinal setback at the hands of Glendale on Monday. To that end, no pitcher has received and deserved more respect this spring than the Falcons’ Ty Wilmsmeyer.
The Tigers gave Wilmsmeyer all due props following his three-hit shutout. It was the second time in as many matchups that the Mizzou signee silenced Ozark’s bats.
“He mixes up his pitches, he pitches backward, uses all his pitches and paints all his pitches,” shortstop Blake Mozley said. “It was a good performance by him. You’ve got to tip your hat to him.”
“He’s not fazed by much,” catcher Carson Shaver added. “You get a couple hits in a row against most pitches and they fall under the pressure. But he rises to the occasion. His fast ball is fast, then he comes with his curve ball and it’s got a sharp break. He’s also got a good changeup. When he mixes them all up, it’s tough to hit him.”
Mozley, Shaver and Wilmsmeyer have been Midwest Nationals teammates in the summer for most of their high school years. They’ll be opponents in the future, with Mozley and Shaver headed to Missouri State and Wilmsmeyer bound for Mizzou.
“Carson and Blake are great friends of mine. They’re more like family than friends,” Wilmsmeyer said. “It’s always great to play those guys. Today, we came out on top. But it could have gone either way.”
Ozark’s best scoring opportunity came in the fourth, when Darren Sims doubled leading off the inning. Shaver followed with a deep fly ball hit to right field that fell at best 10 feet from the fence. It moved Sims to third.
“It felt like I hit it on the barrel,” said Shaver, who singled in his first at-bat. “But I didn’t think it would be close to going out. I was just trying to get it deep enough to move the runner.”
“Carson can you hurt you at any point in a game,” Wilmsmeyer said. “His deep fly ball to right, I thought it might have a chance. I was a little worried. He scared me a little bit with that one. After he had his base hit in the first inning, I said to myself, ‘A base hit is fine, as long as he doesn’t take me deep.'"
Wilmsmeyer stranded Sims at third and cruised the rest of the way.
“I think the world of him and he’s a great competitor," Shaver said. "I wanted to beat him. But it doesn’t always work out your way. Now, I wish him the best."
“We walk away from this and say, ‘We got beat today,' and I can live with that,” coach Mike Essick said. “Wilmsmeyer is a very good pitcher, one of the best in the state. Dylan (Frandsen) pitched very well, too. Our defense played great and we hit some balls hard right at them. We have no regrets.”
As Essick mentioned, Frandsen pitched good enough to win on most days. He, too, went the distance.
“I had only one walk, I’m proud of that,” Frandsen said. “But I gave up a couple hits in a row, that’s what got me.”
Essick said he felt Glendale coach Jim Julian did the right thing by throwing Wilmsmeyer, rather than try to save him for tonight’s championship game versus Nixa.
“No disrespect to them, but if they hadn’t thrown him we would be going on,” Essick said. “At this juncture, I didn’t expect to see anyone else but Wilmsmeyer.”