WHEELERSBURG – The game started with a walk. Two batters later, Kyle Davis knocked in the first run of the game for the Pirates with a double. It looked like it could be a long game for the Jeeps.
It was, but not because of Garret Rawlin’s pitching. After giving up two hits and a run in the first inning Rawlins tightened up, allowing only four hits the rest of the contest. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a three run homer coming off the bat of Wheelersburg’s Kyle Jenkins that would lead to the final score of 4-0.
“Honestly, I thought Garret came out and pitched an amazing game,” said South Webster head coach Ryan McClintic. “He was great all game long. He kept them off balance, and I’m very proud of his performance. He challenged their hitters all night long.”
The problem for South Webster was offensive execution. Whether it was hitting into a double play, being thrown out at the plate, or stranding the bases loaded, they couldn’t seem to find home plate.
Another problem was the excellent pitching of Wheelersburg’s Chance Holbrook. Holbrook gave up only four hits and three walks while striking out six batters.
To compound their frustrations, South Webster didn’t have a hit outside of its first four batters.
“To play the way we want to play we have to get guys on base, even at the bottom of the order,” McClintic said. “We also can’t waste our offensive opportunities. We had a really close play at the plate. With two outs we wanted to be aggressive and I think if we had it back we would have scored. It was a bit of a base running miscue.”
“We have some guys playing positions that they haven’t played a lot of right now,” added McClintic. “We are still trying to find our identity as a team. We weren’t scared out there, we grinded out some at bats but we just couldn’t take advantage at the plate sometimes. It’s tough when the bases are loaded with no outs and you can’t come through. Burg’s a very good team, but so are we. We need to come out and make some of the key plays to beat them Friday.”
The win is Wheelersburg’s first of the season. The Pirates not only had a notable pitching performance out of Holbrook, but they showed poise as they consistently managed to get outs with runners on base and in scoring position.
“We had a veteran kid on the mound today,” Wheelersburg head coach Michael Estep said. “He doesn’t lose poise, he stays level headed and he trusts his pitching and our defense. We did a good job in both aspects of that today. That’s who we are this year. We may not get 8-10 strikeouts like we have in the past, so we need our defense to make big plays and they realize that.”
The Pirates are 1-2 after the win with tough losses coming against Marysville and Jonathan Alder, to open the season.
“Those were tournament type games,” said Estep. “Alder was a good team with a back and forth game. Marysville had a good club, too. I told our guys there were a lot of positives that came out of those games. But we are the type of program, that we are no longer about moral victories. We go out and expect to win no matter who’s on the other side. Tonight we managed to protect our home field and pick up the first conference win.”
The Pirates will travel to South Webster Friday for another game against the Jeeps as per the new SOC format.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
South Webster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0- 0 4 0
Wheelersburg 1 0 0 0 0 3 – 4 6 2
South Webster – Blevins 1-3 (2B), Zimmerman 2-3 (SB), Coriell 1-2 (BB)
Wheelersburg- Howard 1-2 (BB, SB), Davis 2-3 (2-2B, RBI), Jenkins 2-3 (HR, 3 RBIs, SB), Darnell 1-2
W- Holebrook 7IP, 4 H, 0R, 3 BB, 6 K
L- Rawlins 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K