Whittell baseball sweeps Mammoth, heads into league play unbeaten
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — In its last tune-up prior to the start of league play, the Whittell baseball team kept rolling. The Warriors swept Mammoth (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) 14-4 and 10-0 in a doubleheader Tuesday at Lampe Park, remaining unbeaten in seven consecutive games to start the season.
“We couldn’t be in a happier position — the kids are confident and they feel like they can play with anybody,” Warriors coach Devin Ruby said. “We’re not making a lot of mistakes and really taking advantage of everything that happens.”
In the first game, Whittell (7-0) used a big inning to break free from a tight contest en route to a 14-4 win in six innings. The Warriors scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to break a 3-3 tie — Chris Evans, Colton Ruby and Peyton Galli each delivered run-scoring hits as part of the rally.
“It was a little bit of everything,” Ruby said. “Their opening pitcher was pretty good — it took us a few innings to get to him, but we finally did.”
Whittell extended its lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth — Sharp and Evans drew walks and got into scoring position with a double steal, then Ruby lined a single to left-center field that scored them both. In the sixth, the Warriors needed two runs to end the game and got them courtesy of a Sharp RBI ground out and an RBI single from Ruby — his fourth hit of the game.
“To see the aggressiveness is really nice — we’re scoring a lot of runs by kids just being awake and seeing what’s going on,” Ruby said. “That part has been really fun to watch.”
Ruby went 4-for-5 with four RBIs in the victory, Kai Mangiaracina finished 2-for-3 and Sharp and Evans each were each 1-for-2 with an RBI. Buchholz started and gave up one earned run, two hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings — Quinn Kixmiller threw 3 2/3 innings in relief, allowing three hits and a run.
In the second game of the twinbill, Whittell completed the sweep with a 10-0 win over the Huskies. Anchored by a stellar pitching performance from Galli, the Warriors closed out the game with five runs in the fifth.
Whittell struck in the bottom of the first, putting its first three batters aboard to take a 1-0 lead. Sharp led off the game with a walk, Evans singled and Ruby singled to score Sharp — all with no outs — to put the Warriors in front.
The Warriors took a 5-0 lead three innings later on a two-run single from Sharp — then delivered a five-run fifth to end the game. Mangiaracina and Sharp each produced run-scoring hits — then Evans enacted the 10-run rule with a two-run single.
“We had a chance to put the game away and save our arms, and we did — it was really good to see,” Ruby said. “Instead of letting people in the games, we’re able to bury them.”
Galli scattered two hits and four walks while striking out five to shut out Mammoth (2-3). After allowing the Huskies’ first two batters to reach base, the freshman right-hander settled in for a strong performance.
“He’s really competitive, and he just settled down,” Ruby said. “Our pitching has been unbelievable — a lot of strikes and not walking kids.”
Offensively, Evans had a team-high two hits in the win and finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Sharp went 1-for-3 with three RBIs, Mangiaracina was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and Ruby finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Whittell has won seven straight games to start the season, the program’s most single-season wins since finishing with a 23-14 mark in 2011. The Warriors enter Div. IV Northern League play as its only undefeated team.
“I’m happy for the kids — they’re feeling pretty confident,” Ruby said.
The Warriors start league play with a doubleheader against defending champion Wells on Saturday at Lampe Park. The twinbill is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
“On Saturday we’ll see where we’re really at — if we’re competitive, hang in there with them and keep it close then it will be a good sign,” Ruby said. “They’re getting more confident and they’re ready to go — we’ll see what happens.”