Payton Hannah was already a fan of the wood bat prior to the start of the Show-Me Collegiate League. How the Nixa grad has fared in his first few games with the Ozark Wild has confirmed his love for hitting with hickory.
“It feels 20 times better when you square one up with a wood bat,” Hannah said. “I’m liking how it’s feeling. And the sound of a wood bat squaring up is one of the best sounds on earth.”
Hannah went 3-for-4 in the Wild’s 3-1 loss to the Springfield Cobras on Friday. He hit his second triple in three games.
Lo and behold, the league leader through four nights of play in hits and runs scored is the .444-hitting Hannah. It’s been quite a lift for the Drury product, after his freshman season didn’t see him record an at-bat.
He appreciates the chance he's getting with the Wild.
“I wanted to get on the field. I miss playing,” Hannah said. “It feels good being back on the field. I want to get better and have some things I need to work on with my swing. I’ll get the opportunity to fix those this summer.”
Hannah has played left field and second base for the Wild. He batted leadoff Friday.
“Next year, (Drury) is going to work me into the outfield,” he said. “So, I’m playing a little outfield this summer and trying to adjust to that.”
What Hannah feels he’s gained the most thus far at Drury are relationships with his Panthers teammates and coaches, particularly assistant coach Logan Hughes.
“I had a lot of good teammates this year and the coaches take you under their wing, even if you don’t play a lot,” Hannah said. “Coach Hughes has helped me with the mental side of hitting. He’s one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet. He’s personable and will go out of his way to help you."
The Cobras’ pitching was dominant Friday. Ian O’Malley provided three innings of scoreless relief while striking out six. Tyler James gained a save while fanning two in an inning. O’Malley, James, David Senn and Matt Russell combined for 11 strikeouts.
Daniel Lopez was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Cobras.
COBRAS (ab-r-h-bi) — Hull 4-0-0-0, Burrell 4-1-0-0, Auer 4-0-0-0, Herron 3-1-1-1, Lopez 4-1-3-1, McCarville 4-0-0-0, McBride 3-0-1-0, Salyers 3-0-1-1, Mahurin 2-0-0-0, Baker 2-0-0-0.
WILD — Hannah 4-1-3-0, Herron 3-0-1-0, Burk 4-0-0-0, Hinz 4-0-0-0, Woods 2-0-0-0, Philley 3-0-0-1, Quackenbush 3-0-0-0, Radke3-0-0-0, Turner 4-0-1-0.
Cobras 010 110 000 - 3 6 1
Wild 001 000 000 - 1 5 2
WP - Senn. LP - M. Barnes. Save - James.