The Whittell varsity baseball team is turning its season around after a less than stellar start.
“We have five kids who have never played baseball before. It was either don’t have a team or get some athletes to fill in,” said coach Devin Ruby.
In the season opening tournament, the Warriors lost to Smith Valley 14-0 and 11-0. On April 5, the teams faced off again in a double-header which saw Whittell win the first game by a score of 3-1 and lose the second 4-3.
In the first game, Max Primo got on base with a walk and, after stealing second and third, scored the first run from a bunt by Kaven Peck.
Chris Evans doubled and scored on Aaron Heath’s RBI single. Dismas Womack reached first on an error which brought home Heath.
In the second game, freshman Colton Ruby pitched a compete game giving up only two hits with nine strikeouts. The game ended in a 4-3 loss and all Smith Valley runs were unearned.
“Otherwise we would have won the game,” Ruby said.
All four runs came in the fifth inning with two outs and no one on. The Warriors had two consecutive errors and one walk when Smith Valley hit a fly ball. The ball dropped allowing all four runs to score.
Colton Ruby went 2-for-4 and Heath was 2-for-3 at the plate.
Tuesday night, Whittell beat Hawthorne, 4-3.
Jake Sharpe pitched the first five innings recording 10 strikeouts and Colton Ruby pitched the last two with four strikeouts.
“Our pitching has turned a lot of things around,” Ruby said.
The Warriors were down 3-1 in the sixth inning when Sharpe reached first on an error. Evans singled to right and Colton Ruby lined a double over the left-fielder which tied the game at three. Colton Ruby scored the go-ahead run when, a few batters later, the catcher dropped the ball when the batter struck out.
Colton Ruby was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs. Evans was 2-for-2.
“We struggled at the start, but the team is really coming together. Needless to say, we’ve improved a little bit, ” said Devin Ruby. “After the first couple games, they were pretty down. Since that time we’ve put things together. We’ve been in all three games and won two out of three. The kids kept their head up. The team morale and chemistry is real good right now.”