Waconia’s varsity baseball team picked up a conference win in its first Wright County match up of the season, topping Delano 9-1 on the road April 15.
The Wildcats took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, thanks to a single to left field from senior Sam Schiffman. Schiffman’s hit drove home senior Tommy Gove, who had earlier reached the bags on an error.
Delano responded in the bottom of the second inning with a two-hit run to score the Tigers’ only run of the game.
In the top of the third, the Wildcats established their lead in the game. Late in the inning, senior Cody Tucker singled to left field, scoring Whittaker, who had walked to lead off the inning.
The Wildcat offense continued to heat up in the third inning, when Whittaker smashed a two-run homer to center field, scoring Gove, who had earlier doubled.
“When Roch hit that, it kind of opened the flood gates,” WHS head coach Mark Grundhofer said.
Waconia exploded in the fifth inning, scoring five runs on three hits. Delano’s pitcher struggled at the beginning of the inning, hitting Tucker with a pitch before walking senior Blake Pistulka, before a passed ball advanced Tucker and Pistulka to second and third and Gove singled to the short stop.
Senior Jacob Herd blasted a line drive double to center field to bring Tucker, Pistulka, and Gove all across the plate, pushing the WHS lead to six runs.
Whittaker doubled to move Herd to third. Herd then scored on a passed ball to put WHS up 8-1.
Still locking down the Delano offense, the Wildcats put up one more run in the top of the seventh.
Stevenson grounded out to the Delano short stop late in the inning, allowing Gove, who had earlier singled, to score and put the final score at 9-1.
The Tigers were three up, three down in their final at bat, with a strike out and two ground outs thanks to Waconia pitcher senior Ryan Schuman, who made his 2014 pitching debut by throwing the closing inning.
Herd was the winning pitcher, throwing three innings and allowing one earned run on four hits. He struck out two and walked three. Dylan Lindner threw three innings for WHS, striking out two and allowing two hits.
As a team, the Wildcats are holding on to a 1.217 earned run average.
Before the day was over, Delano would circulate through four different pitchers in an attempt to stop the WHS offense.
Waconia put together 10 hits for its 9 runs, led by Gove (3-5), Whittaker (2-4, 2 RBIs, double, home run), and Tucker (2-2, RBI). Herd drove home three RBIs in his 1-4 day, while Schiffman was 1-3 (RBI). Senior Cole Sawyer also picked up a hit.
“Our hitting started coming around,” Grundhofer said. “We’re getting hits with guys in scoring position, that always makes it helpful.”
Now 3-0 this season, the Wildcats will host Litchfield and Holy Family tonight and tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. Next week, WHS hits the road to New Prague, Annandale, and Mound-Westonka, before returning for a Friday afternoon game against Hutchinson.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com