Whittell searching for another state title | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell searching for another state title

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

With an impressive 20-8 regular-season record, the Whittell High baseball team is headed to the state tournament. It’s a familiar destination as the Warriors won the Nevada state title in 2001 and have appeared in the tournament three of the past four years.

The state tournament begins Friday and concludes Saturday in Boulder City. The Warriors play their first game at noon Friday against the top seed in the Southern Nevada 2A league, Faith Lutheran, which went 12-0 in league games this year.

The Warriors are made up mostly of seniors, who have assisted in yet another strong Whittell baseball season. Rewarded for their hard work were seniors Tyler Corey (catcher) and Ian Jacobsen (left, center field) as unanimous first-team Northern Nevada 2A all-league athletes. Travis Purdy (center field, pitcher) was also named first-team, all league.

Tyson Frederick (pitcher) and Chris Pavich (third base) were second-team selections and Joey Byne and Jake Summers received honorable mention.

“Corey was the number one hitter in our league and was very well respected,” said Whittell manager Don Amaral. “He was intentionally walked to lead off an inning, which I’ve never seen before. Ian Jacobsen has emerged this year as the offensive leader, leading the team in hitting and RBIs.

“Jake Summers is one of the best athletes I’ve coached at Whittell,” Amaral added. “He hadn’t played baseball since Little League and he comes out as a senior to hit .500.”

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Several of the team’s seniors said they believe this might be the best Warriors baseball team yet.

“I think we’re really strong,” Byne said. “If the cards fall the right way, we could come out of the tournament as the victor, but we’re going to have to have a lot of things go right and play at the top of our game. The competition is tough coming out of the south and Battle Mountain is a very strong team.”

Jacobsen said the key to the team’s success is relying on one another.

“None of us try to do too much,” Jacobsen said. “We allow each other to step up and come through. We all have faith in each other to get the job done.”

Frederick, who plays shortstop, center field and pitcher and also has the highest batting average on the team, said the Warriors enjoy real team spirit.

“These are all my good, good friends, so we just go out there and have fun,” he said.

Summers is in his first year of playing varsity baseball. He also noted the team spirit is high with the Warriors.

“This is my first year so I just try to help the team as much as possible,” Summers said. “I just have a good time with them.”

Added Corey, “We all hit the ball really well. Everybody in our lineup can be dangerous at times. We are OK on defense, but we make a few mental mistakes and that kind of hurts us. But we have a strong pitching staff and good hitting, so that should get us through.”

Purdy, leading the team in home runs this year with five, said Whittell enjoys strength at both offense and defense.

“We’ve got a collection of guys who can play any position,” Purdy said. “Really, I think this is the best team we’ve had all four years. It’s just that we’re facing harder competition.”