Physically drained, the Waynesville Tigers baseball team faced its fourth game in as many days against a struggling Kickapoo Chiefs squad.

Physically drained, the Waynesville Tigers baseball team faced its fourth game in as many days against a struggling Kickapoo Chiefs squad.

Ahead 5-1 going into the final inning, it took all three outs – and all the Tigers had – to seal another victory over Kickapoo, the second win this week.

"Eight games in four days (four varsity, four junior varsity) makes it really hard on your pitching staff, but that is spring baseball," Waynesville coach Scott Turner said following the contest.

Sam Nevinger (Sr.), who had already pitched a stellar five innings, allowing only one run and two hits, was replaced by freshman pitcher Ryan Pendleton in the sixth.

"[Thursday night] was a perfect opportunity for Sam to show his stuff," Turner said.

Pendleton initially handled his business, keeping Kickapoo off the board in the top of the sixth. In the seventh, however, the young gun struggled. He walked an opposing batter, allowed two hits and two runs (one unearned) to cross the plate before he was spelled by an ailing Zach York in the seventh, who threw 130 pitches against St. James on Monday.

With a single out remaining, York hit a Kickapoo batter, but regained his composure by fanning the final Chief to earn his second save of the year in a 5-3 victory.

On offense, Waynesville scored all five runs in the first two innings.

In the second inning Justin Wagner (Sr.) earned a walk before Trent Simpson (Jr.) drove him in with an RBI double. Two batters later, shortstop Ethan Howser (Sr.) earned a hit of his own to drive Simpson to third. Immediately after, catcher Eriq Kristek (Sr.) knocked in Simpson for a second run in the inning. The two runs added insurance to get the Tigers ahead 5-0 before the third.

Wagner's second inning walk was one of six total free passes allowed by Kickapoo Thursday.

"I think the kids are starting to understand the concept that getting on base is the overall goal," Turner said. "The more we get on base the more pressure we put on the defense and the pitcher, which increases our chances of seeing better pitches to hit and more errors on the defense."

Despite late-inning pitching struggles, Waynesville squeaked out another win by bucking up in the latter portion of the contest.

"It is just believing in themselves and believing in their teammates to get the job done," Turner said of his resilient unit. "They are realizing that we can handle a mistake, but what we can't handle is compounding mistakes in the same inning."

Three games remain before district play begins May 11, including Monday's matchup at Licking.

"Licking is putting together a very good season," Turner said of the Frisco League competition. "They are going to be scrappy and very competitive."

Following Licking, opponents include 2012 district champion Helias, then the regular season finale versus Owensville.

The Tigers will play Rolla in the first round of districts.

[Game stats: WP – S. Nevinger (5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 4 BB); E. Howser, 1-for-2 (R, BB, SB); E. Kristek, 1-for-2 (RBI, R); Trent Simpson, 1-for-2 (2B, RBI, 2 R, BB).]