Whiteoak’s Wildcats baseball team opened their 2018 season on Monday, March 26, when they traveled to Paint Valley High School and beat the Bearcats by a 10 – 6 score.
Chase Butler earned the win with a six and two-thirds inning outing that saw him face 31 batters while allowing four earned runs and six runs overall and allowed two walks. Trever Yeager secured the win and got the save as he faced two batters and retired both batters he faced and struck out the second one to bring the game to a close.
Wildcats’ head coach Chris Veidt praised his pitchers after the game and credited the defense behind them as well.
“Our pitching was solid tonight with a quality start from Chase Butler and a two hitter save from Trever Yeager. Our defense is much improved over our scrimmages, and will continue to improve with more game reps,” said Veidt.
Yeager, the three hitter in the Wildcats’ lineup, reached base on a two out double stole third base during Caleb West’s proceeding at-bat. West went on to single and the Bearcats third baseman committed an error that allowed Yeager to score and give Whiteoak a 1-0 lead.
Paint Valley quickly took control in the bottom of the first as the first three batters reached base and went on to score in the inning before Butler and the Wildcats’ defense retired the next three in order to make it out of the first inning with no more damage done.
After the Wildcats were retired in order in the top of the second inning, Paint Valley added another run in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 4-1 after two innings.
In the third inning the Wildcats’ Traeten Hamilton singled to reach first base and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Yeager singled two batters later to score Hamilton and climb to within two runs at 4-2.
The Bearcats did not score a run in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings as Butler pitched to contact and the Wildcat defense made play after play behind him to keep Paint Valley at bay.
Following a scoreless fourth inning Whiteoak plated two runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead.
The top of the seventh and final inning saw the Wildcats bat around as the Paint Valley pitching staff gave way to fatigue on the way to throwing a combined 145 pitches. Zach Harless, Hamilton, Yeager, Caleb West and Mason Lehr all scored in the top of the seventh and pushed the Whiteoak lead to 10 – 4 as the Bearcats readied to make their final push in the bottom of the inning.
Paint Valley saw their first two batters of the inning reach base and score. Butler faced the next three batters, getting one to fly out and the other two reached base. Yeager entered and secured the 10 – 6 win for the Wildcats.
After the game Veidt praised his team’s ability to get the Bearcats’ pitchers to throw multiple pitches every at-bat and the Wildcats’ ability to set the tone on the basepaths.
“Great start for our kids. Keys to this victory was our ability to get their pitcher to 93 in the fifth, and force them to throw 145 for the game. While our kids threw 98 total. It’s a battle of attrition, and a big part of our game plan. We scored eight from the fifth on. Our aggressiveness on the bases also set the tone. We stole five bases and applied pressure throughout. Paint Valley didn’t steal a base which is a tribute to our pitchers’ abilities to hold runners and our catcher, Billy Oliver,” said Veidt.
The Wildcats were scheduled to take on Southern Hills Athletic Conference foes North Adams and West Union on Tuesday, March 27, and Wednesday, March 28, respectively. Both games were postponed due to inclement weather and were rescheduled for Monday, April 2, against the Green Devils and Wednesday, April 4, against the Dragons.
The Wildcats are scheduled to take on the East Clinton Astros at home on Saturday, March 31 in a non-conference matchup.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.