Warriors drop heartbreaker, end pool play
“What’s the hardest out to get in baseball?” mused Whittell head coach Starbuck Teevan after Wednesday’s game. Answering his own riddle, he sighed, “the last one.”
Indeed, after Warrior catcher Matt Elliott gunned down a Linfield Christian runner for the second out of the 7th inning, the Warriors had the Lions where they wanted them: behind 4-3 with the bases empty and down to their last strike.
Alas, it was not to be. Two walks and a 3-base error later, it was the team from Temecula who stormed the field in celebration, with Whittell on the short end, 5-4.
The walkoff loss kept the Red and Gold from advancing to the championship round of the Lions Invitational baseball tournament in San Diego. Tie-breakers and head-to-head matchups had favored Whittell and placed them literally one pitch away.
Down 2-0 in the 3rd, Whittell scored all their runs in one big inning. Jess Latta catapulted a triple over the center fielder’s head and scored on Taylor Weik’s single. Alexes Potnick and Alex Vogt walked and singled, respectively. Weik scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, then Elliott walloped a double for 2-RBI and the Warriors led 4-2.
Whittell also shined defensively before the last inning. In the 3rd, Weik made a fine running catch of a slicing liner in right after Washalefsky nabbed a tricky pop foul in the same inning. Filling in for Potnick at short, Ty Sprock handled chances well and applied the tags when Elliott caught 2 runners trying to steal. And Potnick was sharp in long relief, striking out 4.
Warriors top Bears, 5-3
While the bus home warmed up nearby, the Whittell Warriors got in one more game Thursday morning. Julian Washalefsky was perfect in relief and Robbie Poet knocked the game-winning hit, lifting Whittell a 5-3 win over the Kodiak (Alaska) Bears.
Down 3-1 with the bases loaded, Washalefsky entered the game in relief with two out and the bases loaded. From there, it was lights out. He dispatched the first Kodiak hitter on strikes to end the threat, and then retired the Bears in order for the next 3 innings to close out the game – 10 straight outs in all, one inning lasting only 5 pitches.
Meanwhile, Whittell started slowly at the plate. In the first, Potnick ripped a wicked triple off the left field fence and came home on Vogt’s single, but that was all the Red and Gold could muster until the 4th. Washalefsky helped himself with an RBI single to score Elliott who had singled and advanced to 3rd on a stolen base and a balk.
The Warriors put the decisive inning together in the 5th. Vogt singled and stole 2nd. Then, with two out, Elliott walked, Washalefsky singled, Jess Latta drew a pass to force in a run, and Poet delivered his 2-RBI liner up the middle.
Whittell (13-9) finished the Lions Invitational in San Diego at 2-2 and resume play Wednesday vs. North Tahoe at Governors Field in Carson City at 5 p.m.
Elliott, Leik, Watta lead Warrior walk-off win
Matt Elliott hurled a gutty complete game and Taylor Weik scored Jess Latta with a game-winning single in the 7th, giving Whittell a 6-5 win over Hoover Tuesday at historic Ted Williams Field.
The Warriors struggled early, down 3-0 in the first on shaky defensive support for Elliott. But Whittell steadily chipped away.
Weik smacked a long, lead-off double, and Potnick singled him home. Down 3-1 in the 2nd, Latta singled and stole second. Weik plated him with a single, then Potnick drilled a double, tying the game at 3.
Meanwhile, Elliott and the Whittell defense settled down. The freshman right-hander kept the Cardinals off balance with a mix of slow curves, changeups and a fastball that seemed to gain velocity throughout the middle innings. He wound up with 7 strikeouts on the day.
In the 5th, Hoover regained the lead, scoring twice on a line single, a walk, a bloop hit and more defensive lapses.
Again, the Warriors chipped away. In the 5th, Vogt singled with one out, was safe at second on a fielder’s choice, then Washalefsky and Curiel drew walks to force in a run.
The 6th featured an oddity for the stiffened Warrior defense: all 4 Warrior infielders got involved in a 5-4-3-6 double play.
Then, in their at bat, the Red and Gold scored without the benefit of a hit, coaxing two walks and two hit batsmen from a tiring Cardinal pitcher to tie the game at 5.