First-place Whitesboro handles Callisburg
WHITESBORO — One pitch into the game, the Bearcats found themselves trailing. By the time they had a couple of chances at the plate, Whitesboro was having a grand old time.
Paul Griffith’s slam over the left-field fence put the exclamation point on first-place Whitesboro’s 18-1 victory in five innings over Callisburg in District 10-3A action.
The wind blowing straight out to left may have been quite appealing but Whitesboro head coach Curt Cole saw his lineup take a balanced approach to the favorable conditions.
“I was just glad they weren’t swinging for the fences, trying to turn on everything,” he said. “We were staying simple and trying to hit line drives. Some of them did carry.”
Griffith went 2-for-4 that also included a double, six RBI and scored twice, Jace Sanders went 3-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice, Mac Harper was 3-for-4, homered and drove in a pair, Jacob Smith was 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice and Jake Hermes finished 2-for-2 with a double, walked, drove in a run and scored three times for Whitesboro (14-4, 7-0), which travels to Callisburg on Friday.
Hunter Kidd was 2-for-3 with a homer and Riley Roberts singled and walked for Callisburg (6-20, 2-5), which opened the week tied for fifth with Ponder and Valley View.
The Bearcats entered the week with a two-game lead on Paradise, Pilot Point and Boyd and have already swept the first two. But four of their district victories have been by two runs or less.
“This is the definition of a team right here,” Cole said. “It hasn’t been just one guy; it’s been a bunch of them with the big hit. There’s only one senior. We felt like we were going to surprise some people.”
Whitesboro tied the game at one in the bottom of the first when the Wildcats had an error, one of six, to open the inning. Smith moved up on a pair of wild pitches and scored when Sanders dunked a one-out single into center.
The Bearcats batted around in the second for an 8-1 advantage. Harper kicked things off with a solo homer to left and Blake Beste and Hermes followed with back-to-back doubles for a 3-1 margin.
Smith hit a one-out RBI double to straightaway center and Torran Naglestad reached on an error that made it 5-1.
Greyson Ledbetter was hit by a pitch with two outs to keep the frame going and Griffith ripped a two-run double past Kidd at shortstop after he was shielded by the umpire on the line drive.
Harper closed out the inning with an RBI single up the middle.
Griffith had the big blow in Whitesboro’s six-run third inning. Hermes reached on a one-out infield single and an error put runners at the corners. Kaleb Barthold should have been out of the inning but a dropped fly ball in left with two away scored a run and when Ledbetter was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Griffith's blast cleared them for a 14-1 lead.
The Bearcats tacked on four more runs in the fourth. Smith produced a one-out RBI single before Sanders had a two-out hit and Ledbetter walked. Griffith then reached on an error which allowed all three runners to score for the final margin.
After Kidd’s homer to lead off the game, Callisburg had a chance to add to its early lead. Roberts singled with one out and Austin Cowger walked. They moved up on a wild pitch and Whitesboro played the infield in, which saved a run when Grayson Roberson hit a one-hopper to Naglestad at short and courtesy runner Joseph Serna had to hold at third.
Hayden Maynard worked back from a 3-0 count on Caleb Clark to get a strikeout and keep the deficit at a run.
Maynard’s day was done after he got the first two batters of the second inning and the lineup turned over.
“That was already planned. He didn’t pitch last week because of an injury. And we’ve kinda been using an opener,” Cole said. “We have five or six pitchers that we can throw and we have confidence in all of them to go out there.”
Entering the series against Callisburg, five different Bearcats had earned a win in the first six district contests.
Sanders got the win in relief in this one after he came on and allowed just three base runners over the final three and a third innings. Kidd had a single in the second but was stranded at first, Roberts led off the third with a walk and Serna stole second with two outs and Clark singled to start the fourth and after he was sacrificed over to second he got picked off by Smith after straying too far off second following a pitch in the dirt.