Whittell senior torrid as Warriors split twin-bill
Special to the Tribune
Wind-chilled fans shivered at Lampe Park, but Whittell’s Matt Schorr stayed muy caliente, peppering extra-base hits in his fourth straight game, and the Warriors split a wild double-header Saturday with the 3A Truckee Wolverines.
WHITTELL 6, TRUCKEE 5
Schorr tripled with two-out in the seventh, then scored on a wild pitch to decide the thrilling opener. The game featured comebacks, flashing leather, coaching stratagems, gutty pitching performances and more.
Truckee started quickly and threatened a 1st-inning blowout. But with two out and the bases loaded, Warrior first-sacker Alex Vogt smothered a hot smash and the Wolverines settled for a 2-0 lead.
Down 4-0 in the third, Whittell started their comeback. RBI singles by Vogt and Schorr brought the Warriors to within one, 4-3. And in the fourth, sophomore Taylor Weik plated Jess Latta to knot the score at 4-4.
Weik was a major thorn in the Wolverines’ side, reaching base safely in every at-bat. He, along with Vogt and Schorr, had two hits each for the game.
Pitching and defense kept it close for Whittell. Shortstop Alex Potnick took charge with an inning-ending snag of a tricky popup in short right field. Later, the senior ranged far to both his left and his right on successive plays, nabbing difficult grounders and retiring both runners with Vogt stretching and scooping at first base to complete the double web-gems.
With such defensive support, Warrior hurler Julian Washalefsky settled down, allowing just one run in the final five innings. The towering right-hander struck out three in his yeoman’s effort – a 125-pitch complete-game win.
“Julian had all of his pitches working today,” said coach Starbuck Teevan. “He threw strikes, kept hitters off balance, and gave us a great game on the mound. We made a few mistakes on defense, but managed to overcome them and continue to put pressure on the other team.”
Starting pitcher James DePew was the stud hoss for Truckee, fanning eight Warriors in six innings and blasting doubles in each his first two at bats.
That convinced Whittell Coach Starbuck Teevan to pitch around DePew and he was twice walked intentionally. The strategy worked both times with Truckee failing to score.
For the game, three Whittell runners were either picked off or caught stealing, and tensions rose heading into the sixth. The Warriors took the lead when Latta walked with two out, then stole second and scored on Weik’s clutch RBI single.
But the Wolverines weren’t done. In the seventh, Truckee Coach Mike Ellis manufactured the tying run after their leadoff hitter reached first on an error. He ordered a sacrifice bunt that paid a two-base dividend. A botched suicide squeeze followed, but the runner stole home anyway and the game was again tied at 5-5, setting the stage for Schorr’s heroics.
TRUCKEE 20, WHITTELL 14
In contrast to the opener, pitching and defense were in short supply and wild momentum swings highlighted the wacky nightcap.
This time the Warriors started out fast with five first-inning hits including Matt Elliott’s double, and triples from Potnick and Oliver Curiel. The Red & Gold led 5-1 and, having batted around, were reloaded and poised to inflict more damage in the second.
But from there, the game turned 180 degrees. Truckee went through four Warrior pitchers like a hot knife through butter, and the Wolverines led 19-6 in the fourth with a runner on third and nobody out.
That’s when Elliott rose up from his catcher’s crouch to become Whittell’s 5th pitcher. Shrugging off the fatigue that comes from catching the 11 innings prior, the freshman struck out the side on 10 pitches. He would finish the game in true Warrior fashion, allowing only one run and striking out six in his gritty 4-inning opus.
Still, Whittell was down 20-6 in the 5th and facing the 10-run mercy rule.
Here, many teams would start warming up the bus, but not Whittell.
“I’m very proud of the effort we put forth,” Teevan said. “We didn’t quit down 20-5. We fought back and made a real effort to get back in the game.”
Instead, they launched another huge inning, scoring seven runs and forcing loyal fans on both sides to bundle up for more baseball.
The Wolverines weren’t much bothered by the cold. So, though the Warriors never gave up and scored again in the 7th (Vogt singling home Weik), it wasn’t enough and Truckee held on to prevail 20-14.
During the comeback rally, Weik, Elliott, Vogt, Schorr and Washalefsky all got into the act with hits, and Avery Laub made his season debut, sending Schorr home with a bunt single. Laub reached base safely three times in four plate appearances.
For the game, Vogt led the Warriors with three hits. Schorr ripped two doubles. Weik, Elliott and Washalefsky also had two hits each.
Whittell (9-5) traveled to Sparks on Tuesday for a makeup game and faces Incline twice. The Warriors will play at Lampe on Wednesday and at Governor’s Field in Carson City on Saturday.