Whittell baseball wins 10th straight, rolls past Smith Valley 16-1
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — The Whittell baseball team continued its undefeated start to the season Tuesday — and did so in decisive fashion. The Warriors beat Smith Valley 16-1 in five innings at Lampe Park, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games.
“We came here and did what I thought we would do,” Warriors head coach Devin Ruby said. “They’re playing well — they’re clicking, they’re confident and they feel like they’re going to win.”
Whittell (10-0, 3-0 IV Northern) jumped on the Bulldogs early in Tuesday’s game, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Warriors sent all nine batters to the plate in the first, and did their damage on two hits and four walks — with the bases loaded and one out, right fielder Kai Mangiaracina capped the rally with a three-run double to left field that made it 6-0.
“When Kai keeps his head in there, he hammers the ball when he hits it — he saw the ball really well today,” Ruby said.
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Pitching with an early lead, Whittell starter Colton Ruby got rolling. The right-hander struck out the side in the second and started the third with two more strikeouts — in three scoreless innings, he finished with eight strikeouts and scattered two hits.
After a one-two-three second, Whittell delivered the knockout blow by scoring nine runs in the third. Five straight Warriors reached base with one out, allowing third baseman Nic Buchholz and center fielder Sam Berry to score the first two runs of the frame.
Following a sacrifice fly from shortstop Jake Sharp, Whittell added six more runs as part of a two-out rally. A two-run single from Chris Evans started the rally that included run-scoring hits from Ruby, Berry and Mangiaracina — by the time the inning ended, the Warriors had sent 14 batters to the plate and built a commanding 15-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the fourth, Whittell added to its lead when Peyton Galli drew a bases loaded walk that scored Sharp. After Quinn Kixmiller threw a scoreless fourth inning, Buchholz sealed the win in the top of the fifth — Smith Valley’s lone run came on an error in the last inning.
“They’re playing better every game right now — really cutting down on the mistakes and really aggressive on the bases,” Ruby said.
Mangiaracina had a team-high four RBIs in the win, finishing 2-for-3 with a double and two runs. Evans was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs, Galli finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs and Ruby went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run — Berry had a hit, three RBIs and two runs, Buchholz totaled a hit and three runs and Armando Rodriguez finished with an RBI and a run.
On the mound, Ruby delivered his most dominant performance of the season. The sophomore allowed only two batters to reach base in three innings of action, throwing hard from start to finish.
“He threw hard and threw strikes all three innings,” Ruby said.
With its 10th win, Whittell has equaled its win total from the last three seasons combined. The Warriors still have room to improve, but have already established themselves as a playoff contender in Div. IV Northern League.
“It’s fun and it’s fun to see these guys happy — it’s been a while,” Ruby said. “We’ll ride it as long as we can.”
Whittell returns to action Saturday at Lampe Park for a doubleheader against Eureka (3-2, 3-0). The first game is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
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