Whittell baseball routs Pyramid Lake 16-3, wins second straight
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — For the first time this season, the Whittell baseball team is riding a winning streak. As the Warriors begin the heart of their league schedule, the success couldn’t come at a more opportune time.
“We’re growing as a team,” Warriors coach Tobias Donahue said.
The Warriors routed Div. IV foe Pyramid Lake 16-3 in five innings at Lampe Park on Tuesday, April 12. The lopsided nonleague victory marked the Warriors’ second straight after winning one of their first nine contests.
“Going into league, it’s really important for us to get a win like that,” Warriors junior Colton Ruby said. “That was our first solid win, where we’re all really confident about where we’re at.”
Whittell (3-8) wasted no time getting on the board in Tuesday’s win, with Ruby single-handedly putting the hosts up 1-0 in the bottom of the first. After two quick outs, the junior sent a 2-1 pitch to the right-center-field fence that led to an inside-the-park home run.
“I always figure triple, but when it was still out there it was pretty nice to come home,” Ruby said.
In the second, all of the Warriors got in on the act. Whittell sent its entire lineup to the plate as part of a six-run frame, extending its lead to 7-0 with just two hits.
Senior Chris Evans led off the bottom of the second with a double, and was one of three straight Whittell batters to reach safely. The Warriors’ big inning included an RBI single from Sam Berry and a run-scoring strikeout from Andrew Carlisle — and set in motion the decisive result.
“It was nice to see us as a team start hitting the ball together,” Ruby said. “It really came together this game, and it was really nice to see.”
Evans led off the bottom of the third with a single to again get Whittell rolling. He scored on an error in the next at-bat, and Berry capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single that gave the Warriors a double-digit lead.
“We’re starting to put the ball in play in a more disciplined manner,” Donahue said. “We’ve really had an issue with getting out in front of pitches — it doesn’t matter how hard the guys are throwing, we were really eager and rolling over it.”
Pyramid Lake (0-5) avoided the shutout in the top of the fourth, turning a leadoff double into its first run of the game. That run chased Berry, who allowed five hits in 3.1 innings with three strikeouts and a walk in his second appearance of the season — left-hander Josh Burch came in and got the last two outs of the frame.
“Sam threw great. He really challenges guys, and he’s got a good arm,” Donahue said. “It’s just getting him out there and more comfortable.”
In the next half-inning, Whittell scored six runs on two hits to put the game away. The Warriors’ first six batters reached base to start a spurt that included run-scoring hits from Berry, sophomore Cody Ruby, junior Kai Mangiaracina and sophomore Bastion Elkins.
The Lakers scored twice in the top of the fifth but couldn’t avoid the 10-run rule. With the bases loaded, junior right-hander Dismas Womack induced a ground out as Whittell claimed its second win in a week.
“It was the cleanest game we’ve had so far this year, and we want to keep it going,” Ruby said.
Evans (2-for-2, double, three runs) and Berry (2-for-4, three RBIs, run) collected multiple hits for Whittell in the victory. Colton Ruby’s lone hit was a home run and he scored twice, Mangiaracina went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs and Cody Ruby finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and run.
Whittell scored a season-high 16 runs in its win over Pyramid Lake, and Tuesday’s victory marked the first time the Warriors have won by 10 or more this season. Though the result came against winless opposition, it’s another positive sign as the team heads concludes Div. IV West League play with nine games in 20 days.
“Everybody is getting better every day and improving, and it’s really nice to see,” Ruby said. “We’re ready to go and we’re ready to show the league what we’ve got.”
The Warriors continue their league slate Friday, April 15, with a doubleheader against Smith Valley (2-2-1, 1-0) at Lampe Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Whittell’s remaining league schedule includes a doubleheader at Coleville on April 23, two games in five days against league-leading Virginia City starting at home April 29 and a road game at Sierra Lutheran on May 5 to close out the regular season.
“We control our own destiny,” Ruby said. “We can go wherever we want, we just have to play the way we can.”
The top two finishers in Div. IV West League will qualify for the regional playoffs along with the top two from Div. IV East League. The leagues were split prior to the season, with Carlin, Eureka, Mineral County, Pyramid Lake and Wells on the other side.