• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports Editor

Bat Jackets tie Generals in rain shortened game

The WCHS Bat Jackets opened their season on Monday, March 19 at Chandler Field against the Lafayette High School Generals. The game was a pitchers dual featuring two of the top arms in the region going head-to-head. WCHS senior Hunter Hilbert took the ball for the Jackets and Tyler Guilfoil took the hill for the Generals. The weather played the biggest role of the night with steady rain from the start of the second inning through the top of the seventh when the game was called.

“We would love to play on a sunny and warm afternoon but the reality is we were able to play baseball and get some hacks in and right now we will take what we can get,” said WCHS Coach Paul Patterson.

Both starting pitchers cruised through the first inning. In the second inning, Hilbert had the Generals guessing and swinging at pitches in the dirt. Guilfoil dominated the bottom of the second and third innings. He mixed his pitches well and kept the Jackets off balance.

“We knew facing Tyler Guilfoil would be tough,” said Patterson. “He's one of the best arms in the region, if not the whole state. It was good to be able to see that quality of pitching early in the season

and be able to learn from it. I'm hoping we can get a little better timing and make decisions with two strikes but I think we put some good swings on the ball, we just did not execute.

The game remained scoreless into the fifth inning and both teams had new pitchers in the game. WCHS senior Collin Murray came into the game and pitched well. He was able to keep the ball down in the zone and force ground balls. Lafayette junior Zach Tudor pitched in relief for the Generals and was a change of pace that kept the Jackets bats guessing. By the top of the sixth, the rain was pouring down and with only one hit in the game between both teams, the game was still scoreless. In the top of the seventh the game was called after a Lafayette batter was hit by a pitch bringing both coaches onto the field to call the game as the conditions worsened.

“We should be a team that scores a lot of runs,” said Patterson. “Maybe we just had a first game stall. Hilbert looks great out there tonight. He threw strikes and threw the ball downhill for us. He looks like a guy that can take us deep into the post season. I thought Murray picked up where he left off last season for us. He's the kind of guy who throws strikes and gets ground balls.”

“We were able to identify some things that we need to work on and we can learn from tonight. I thought Ben Browning at shortstop was great tonight. He made plays in wet conditions and gave Josh Hall a solid chance to make the out at first.”

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