Wildcats overpower Trinity of Durham
Playing in the middle of spring break can sometimes have its surprises, but the Westchester Country Day baseball team avoided that trap well enough.
The Wildcats hit the ball well, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings, and pitched well, as Tyler Marion allowed just two hits, in beating Trinity of Durham and Chapel Hill 12-2 in five innings Tuesday at Conner Field.
“It was good to come out and play well,” Westchester coach Joey Hammond said. “It’s a conference game, so, for that, it’s always a good thing. But we have also have the big picture in mind. So, you have to play games like this that way.
“You’ve got to handle your business and play to your capabilities. Our mindset now is to play like we’re playing one of those teams that gave us a tough run. And we feel like — regardless who we play — if we play that way, then we should win.”
Nate Blakeney had two hits and three RBIs in his only two plate appearances to key the Wildcats (8-4, 4-0 Triad Athletic 2A), who scored six in the first and four in the second, and Markel Johnson drilled a two-run home run in the fourth.
Micah Hedgepeth, who had an RBI, and W.J. Jessup also had two hits each while Jessup and Luke Puckett each had two RBIs, as 13 batters totaled 13 hits for Westchester, ranked No. 1 in the NCISAA 2A.
“We played great today,” said Blakeney, a freshman shortstop. “Sometimes we play down to the competition, but we kept our cool and had the right offensive approach. … We just attacked fastballs, looked right side and let the ball travel. We did amazing with that.”
Marion struck out six in five innings and only allowed one hit in the third inning and one in the fourth. But his lone walk of the game to begin the third led to an earned run, which was later followed by an unearned run on an error with two outs.
So, while there was plenty to be positive about going into a couple days’ rest before four games next week, there were also a couple things — like walks and errors — that the Wildcats still look to clean up moving forward.
“We’re trying to harp on it,” Hammond said. “We walked one of their guys. And if we don’t walk him, then he doesn’t score. And if we execute a groundball, then it’s a shutout. It’s as simple as that. That’s the message we’re trying to send.
“If you do that against a really good team, then the next one’s out of the park, and you’re looking at six runs instead of two. Our guys are getting it, and we’re not trying to be overly tough on them. But we’re trying to give them a dose of reality.”
Jason Kowalski took the loss for Trinity (5-1-1), ranked No. 5 in the 2A, while Todd Echstenkamper had an RBI single to lead the offense.
The Wildcats play Tuesday at Burlington Christian before hosting Carolina Friends on Thursday. They will then play two games, Friday at T.C. Roberson and Saturday at Asheville Christian, on an overnight trip to the mountains.