Trent Rutledge came up big Saturday in a game that meant a lot to the Western Hills baseball team.
Rutledge, a junior third baseman, went 4-for-4 with three singles and a two-run home run that tied the game at 5-5 in the sixth inning against Franklin County.
For his performance, Rutledge has been named the Traditional Bank Athlete of the Week.
The Wolverines went on to win Saturday’s game 6-5 when Clay Woodson hit a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Rutledge finished the game with four RBI.
Rutledge also hit a two-run homer in WHHS’ 11-7 loss at Franklin County Tuesday and hit a double in an 8-5 win at Madison Southern Friday.
Rutledge, who has been playing baseball since he was 8 years old, is the son of Jeff Rutledge and Karen Evans.
State Journal: What was the team’s mindset going into Saturday’s game?
Rutledge: We just wanted to win the game for DJ (Barnett). DJ had lost his mom a few days earlier, and we wanted to make him happy by winning the game. It meant a lot to him.
SJ: What were you looking to do at the plate when you hit the home run?
Rutledge: The same thing I’m trying to do every time, get another hit and help the team out. I just wanted to move Blaine (Wood) over. I was trying to put the ball in the gap somewhere.
SJ: What do you see as the strength of this year’s team?
Rutledge: We get along. Like every team, we have our ups and downs, but we deal with them as a team and grow stronger together.
SJ: Did you or the team set any goals for this season?
Rutledge: It’s the same as every team’s, to make it to the state championship game.
SJ: How important was it to have a season this year after last year’s high school season was canceled because of COVID-19?
Rutledge: Last year I worked out the whole off-season. I worked super, super hard, and so did our seniors. We were going to have a really good team, and then COVID hit and we couldn’t even come down here and taking batting practice. Our season was canceled, and that broke our seniors’ hearts. When I started summer ball last year I was off my game the first two tournaments because I hadn’t played in the spring. It’s good to come back out here.