Two games in, and Western Hills’ baseball team is 2-0.
The Wolverines won their home opener Saturday in convincing fashion, beating Henry County 11-1 in five innings. The game was called on the mercy rule.
“I’m very pleased,” WHHS coach Eric Grubb said. “We’re swinging the bats, being aggressive. That’s the way we want to play. So far, so good.”
Western Hills scored the first run of the game in the first inning. Leadoff batter Tyler Anglin was hit by a pitch, stole second base, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Seth Roush and scored on a groundout by Kyle Fisher.
Henry County (0-2) tied the game in the top of the second with a double by Mason Fish, a single by Ethan Tuggle and a groundout by Isaac Steverson.
WHHS scored single runs in the second and third innings with just one hit in each inning.
“It’s what we want to do on offense, on defense, on the base paths,” Grubb said about his team being opportunistic. “We want to take what the defense gives us and what the offense presents to us.”
The Wolverines loaded the bases in the second when Jesse Howard singled, Landon Arflack drew a walk and Thomas Bennett was hit by a pitch.
Anglin followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Teddy Emberton, running for Howard.
Kyle Stevens led off with a single in the third inning, and Fisher drew a walk. Zack Barker hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing Barker out at second and sending Stevens to third.
Stevens scored when a pickoff attempt of Barker failed.
Arflack hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning after a double by Howard, putting WHHS up 5-1, and the Wolverines broke the game open in the fifth inning with six runs on four hits — singles by Barker, Davis Nesselrode and Howard and a double by Fisher.
Howard went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double as WHHS had eight hits. Arflack hit a home run, Fisher hit a double, and Stevens, Barker and Nesselrode each had a base hit.
Roush pitched four innings for the win, giving up two hits and one run, and Fisher finished the game in relief.
Henry County’s hits were a double by Fish and a single by Tuggle.
The Wolverines are a young team despite returning seven starters. On Saturday they had three sophomores and two freshmen starting.
Their most experience is at pitcher, where four of the current top five are seniors — Stevens, Fisher, Roush and Barker. Parker Jackson, a sophomore, rounds out the top five pitchers.
WHHS’ other seniors are Chase Mahoney and Willie Walker.
While Grubb has his top five set, he’s looking for more help on the mound.
“We’ll need a handful of young guys to step up on the mound and pitch at the varsity level,” he said. “We want them to get up, pound the strike zone and get an out. If they do that they’ll pitch for us.
“That’s part of what we want from JV games, to see who can throw strikes. If they throw strikes they can pitch at the varsity level.”
WHHS opened the season Friday with a 7-4 victory at Boyle County, beating one of the state’s best pitchers in Micah Miniard.
“Getting a win like that against that caliber of player is big,” Grubb said. “Our players knew about him coming in, and being early in the year he might not have been his normal self, but we still beat a very good pitcher.”
Barker led WHHS with three hits — a single, double and home run. Bennett hit a double and single, Fisher tripled, and Stevens and Howard both singled.
Barker pitched the first four innings, and Jackson pitched the last three in relief.
The Wolverines will try to keep the momentum going when they host Bardstown Monday.
“Their expectations are high for themselves and the team,” Grubb said. “This year they feel their spot is their spot, and no one’s taking it from them.
“They’re not just happy to play, they want to see what they can do production wise.”