A matchup of two SHAC teams saw the Whiteoak Wildcats walk away with an 8-4 victory. The two teams entered play at the top of their respective conference divisions and neither had a blemish on their resume nearly at the midway point of the season.
Chase Butler took the hill for the Wildcats hoping to recreate the gem he tossed just five days ago against Fairfield. Butler set down the first hitters to greet him in order to open the ball game. The Wildcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom half on a bizarre series of events. The Wildcats had loaded the bases when Chase Carraher hit a ball right back to the pitcher. The pitcher took the force out a home and the catcher hit Carraher on the back with the throw to first which allowed Ryan Roberts to score on the error. The Dragons were able to get an out on the play, recovering the errant throw and throwing out Caleb West attempting to take third base, ending the inning.
Butler made quick work in the top of the second, setting down the side 1-2-3 for a second consecutive flawless inning. The Wildcats were able to get a runner in scoring position behind an infield hit and stolen base by Evan Brill. However, they could not capitalize and were forced to be content with a 1-0 advantage.
The Dragons bats came alive in the top of the third, scoring two runs on two hits and a base on balls. With two outs and a runner in scoring position, the Dragons had a chance to take a larger lead, but Yeager made an outstanding running catch deep in the left center field gap to hold the score at 2-1 in favor of West Union.
The Wildcats didn’t waste any time reclaiming the lead in the bottom of the third. With one out, Roberts hit a line drive double to left center and Yeager followed with a walk. Up next for the Wildcats was the clean-up hitter West who proceeded to plate Roberts and Yeager on a shot that hit off the left field fence giving the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.
Butler responded with a shutdown inning, allowing a runner to reach but not allowing that runner to cross the plate. Maintaining a 3-2 lead. Brill lead off the bottom half with a double but was caught stealing at 3rd base between two strikeouts by designated hitter Casey Nace and the pitcher Butler.
The top of the fifth saw the Dragons leadoff man reach on a ball that was nearly a dazzling catch by the center fielder Yeager. It seemed that the single was inconsequential after a popped up bunt lead the runner to be doubled up at first base, but the Dragons rallied with two away in the inning behind a single, an error, and then a double by the pitcher to take a 4-3 lead to the bottom of the frame.
Again, the Wildcats wouldn’t be trailing for long. Roberts hit another ball right on the screws for a one out single and proceeded to steal second base and advance to third on a passed ball. With two outs in the inning, West hit a routine ground ball to the shortstop, but the throw pulled the runner off the bag allowing Roberts to cross the plate. Carraher, Brill, and Mason Lehr.
followed with RBI singles of their own to give the Wildcats a 7-4 lead. Two-out hitting has become a staple of this Wildcat team and Coach Veidt emphasized how important it is, “we were down and scored four two-out runs and that’s the game right there.”
To be safe, the Wildcats added another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Wildcats an 8-4 lead which would wind up being the final tally of the ball game. Butler pitched a complete game to earn the victory and Coach Veidt praised his pitcher after the game saying, “I looked at him before the top of the seventh and asked him how he felt and he said fantastic. He’s just a competitor.” Roberts lead the way at the plate, going 2-2 with a single, double, and two walks.
The Wildcats return to action tomorrow evening against Georgetown trying to extend their 12-game winning streak. First pitch is at 5 p.m. at Whiteoak High School.
The Whiteoak Lady Cats softball team won their second game in a row 14-1 in five innings. The Lady Cats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. They added three more runs in the bottom of the second with Raines, Price and Everhart each crossing the plate to give the Lady Cats a 4-0 advantage.
The Lady Cats batted around and then some in the bottom of the third, scoring eight runs to take a 12-0 lead to the top of the fourth. The Lady Cats drove in two more in the bottom of the fourth to lead 14-0. The Lady Dragons hit a home run in the top of the fifth, but it was inconsequential with three consecutive outs following and the Lady Cats taking the game 14-1.
The Lady Cats look to extend their winning streak tomorrow evening when they face off against Georgetown at Whiteoak High School. First pitch is at 5 p.m.
Spencer Michael is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.