Last Friday, April 22, our JV baseball team played the Coleman Bluecats for what proved to be their last district game this year. Great pitching, pretty good defense, and solid hitting helped the game to turn out the way we intended.
Kelan Verette was our pitcher of record for the day. He allowed some hits, and some runs (not all earned), and did what we expected him to do all year which was throw strikes. In the second inning, Verette allowed a double a fielder’s choice and a single that knocked in two runs. A two out double and a single plated another run in the third. The fourth inning had another run as it started with a one out double, and a miscue on a pop up allowed that runner to score. The top of the sixth is where Coleman got their final run as it led off with an error, then a play was made by Kolton Ellis at shortstop to get an out. Then a wild pitch, walk, and stolen base set up second and third. A strikeout made two outs, but a single scored the fifth run. Ellis caught a fly ball to end the sixth and Verette struck out the side in the seventh as he felt the momentum swing our way. Altogether, Kelan pitched seven innings, gave up six hits, and struck out twelve. As a pitcher, Verette’s record improved to 4-1-1 in district games and 5-1-1 for the season.
We did most of our scoring in the first inning, and did not score again until it counted the most. We led off the game with a single by Kolton Ellis. Jordan Watson got hit by the pitch and advanced to first base. The catcher missed the ball on the next pitch and the runners got to second and third. Kelan Verette swung and missed strike three, but the catcher dropped the ball and Verette beat out the throw to first. With the bases loaded, Russell Lowe hit a one-ball two-strike pitch to left center field for a bases clearing triple. Dylan Rosales obtained an RBI when he hit a ground ball to the shortstop, allowing Lowe to score. We ended the first inning with the lead 0-4. Over the next five innings, there were only three other hits. Ethan Ingram had a single over short, Dylan Rosales had a hard hit single, and Dusty Parum had a single to center field in the sixth. No other hits were strung together to advance and score the runners.
Going into the bottom of the seventh inning and down by one, we needed a rally. Sure enough, Russell Lowe got on with a double, and Tanner Hawkins got on with a single. Then a fly out and Micheal McKinnerney took a walk to load the bases. The Coleman pitcher had a wild pitch to the next batter that went to the backstop. This allowed Lowe to score from third. As the catcher was throwing back to the pitcher covering at the plate to make a play on Lowe, the ball glanced off of the pitcher’s glove and got far enough away to allow Hawkins, who was just getting to third, to try to score, too. The ball was thrown back to the catcher at the plate and Hawkins slid in hard, feet first. The ball was there and the tag was made in plenty of time, however the ball popped out from the collision, and the game ending run was counted. The Dillos won 5-6 in walk-off (or slide-off?) fashion.
The reason that this was the last game for our JV is that our last opponent did not want to bring the JV and just play Varsity only. So our final record, including forfeits, is 15-5-2 on the year, 11-2-1in district games. Like I told the players, with JV teams we usually just want to be over .500, which would be better than breaking even. The players on the team sure rose to the occasion and made sure that they did way better than that. Their only two district losses were to Bangs, and our tie was with Early. This should give the Armadillos second place overall in District 6 JV standings.
We have enjoyed being around and getting the opportunity to coach these young men. We also want them to keep practicing, playing, and getting better so they can come out and help us again when next January rolls around. Thank you so much to the families and spectators that have traveled, followed along, and kept up with the team and their accomplishments. We definitely look forward to doing this again next year