The Whiteoak Wildcats extended their winning streak to 10 games on Wednesday evening, defeating the Fairfield Lions 8-2. The Lions came into this game trailing the Wildcats by one game in league play after their loss to West Union this past week.
The Wildcats came out swinging taking a quick 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by Trevor Yeager. Whiteoak pitcher Chase Butler made quick work of the Lions in the top of the second, setting down the 5,6,7 batters in order.
The Wildcats again got a runner in scoring position with a solid double by Evan Brill. After a flyout for the second out of the inning, however, Lions pitcher Sam Buddlmeyer executed a beautiful pick-off to second base for the third out of the inning.
The top of the third saw the first hit of the evening for the Lions on a single by Ethan Grooms. With the lack of success the Lions were having at the plate, Austin Setty attempted to move his teammate to second via sacrifice bunt, but Wildcats catcher Billy Oliver had other ideas. Butler started Setty out with a slow breaking ball, which isn’t typically an ideal pitch to bunt. The bunt was popped up, allowing Oliver to come out of the crouch to make a play and double up the runner at first, ending the inning.
Buddlemeyer seemingly found his rhythm in the bottom of the third, setting the first two hitters he faced down in order via strikeout. Then, Brill and Casey Nace singled and Butler walked, loading the bases for leadoff batter Traeton Hamilton. Buddlemeyer bared down when he needed to, holding the deficit to just two runs. However, Coach Veidt was still pleased with his teams’ two-out hitting saying, “with two outs today, we were so impressive.”
Butler cruised through the first four innings without being threatened in the slightest. Layne Morgan singled with one out in the inning and proceeded to steal second and scored on a double by Wyatt Willey. After a strikeout, Butler couldn’t make the pitch to keep the Wildcats lead intact, allowing an RBI single off the bat of Setty to square the game at two apiece.
The Wildcats immediately responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half on with four hits to lead by a score of 5-2. If Butler wanted to stick around for the 7th, he would need to make quick work of the Lions, and that is precisely what he did, setting them down in order.
The Wildcats added three more insurance runs in the bottom of the 6th to put the game on ice. Butler completed the game allowing only two runs on 93 pitches thrown. He attacked the strike zone and allowed his defense to back him up. Coach Veidt praised his teams’ defensive effort by saying, “In the game of baseball, you talk about throwing and catching and playing quality defense and we did that.”
The Wildcats look to extend their winning streak tomorrow against Felicity. The game will be a double-header with the first pitch at noon.
Spencer Michael is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.