Western Hills baseball coach Eric Grubb said it’s going to take an extraordinary effort for a team to knock off top-ranked Tates Creek this week in the 11th Region Tournament.
“It’s going to take a really good day from a really good pitcher,” Grubb said after the host Wolverines lost 14-1 to the Commodores in six innings Tuesday in the semifinals. “Most high school teams have two or three really good hitters, but that team is solid one through nine. A pitcher will have to have a great day to beat them.”
Grubb went with sophomore pitcher Parker Jackson on the mound Tuesday. Things started off poorly for Jackson and the Wolverines when Tates Creek scored five runs in the top of the first inning on three hits, a walk and an error at third base that accounted for two runs.
It was one of three WHHS errors in the game.
“They are used to seeing really hard pitching all year long, so our idea coming in was to go with Parker and try to gain an advantage with off-speed pitching,” Grubb said. “Parker had a 3-2 count on the leadoff, and the call on the next pitch didn’t go our way. It just went out of our control from there.
“Tates Creek is known for its hitting,” Grubb added. “It’s a tough team to pitch to because they handle every pitch so well.”
The Wolverines picked up a run in the bottom of the first to make it 5-1 when Thomas Bennett singled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Seth Roush.
Bennett, a freshman, had both of WHHS’ hits with his two singles.
Tates Creek added single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings before plating six runs in the sixth. The big hit in the inning was a grand slam over the 325-foot left field fence from Jaren Shelby.
Tates Creek finished with 12 hits.
Noah Stone pitched a complete game for Tates Creek. Stone allowed the two hits to Bennett, struck out two and walked one.
Kyle Fisher came on in relief of Jackson in the second inning, and Kyle Stevens took over five batters into the sixth inning.
WHHS finished the season 17-14 while the Commodores improved to 32-6.
The Commodores will take on the winner of Scott County vs. Madison Central Thursday in the regional title game at WHHS.
Scott County and Madison Central were tied 2-2 in their semifinal Tuesday night when the game was halted because of lightning. Play will resume tonight at 7 with the score tied in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Wolverines graduate five seniors off this year’s team: Fisher, Stevens, Roush, Zack Barker and Chase Mahoney. So far, Roush has earned a chance to play college baseball, having recently signed with Georgetown College.
“We’ve got a couple other seniors looking for a college to play for,” Grubb said. “These guys are too talented not to move on.
“It’s a great senior group,” Grubb added. “The guys have had some bumps in the road, but they love this program, they love their teammates, and they love their school. It’s really something special to see.”
To see more photos from this game, click here.