The Patoka baseball team has been hitting like a collection of super men early in the fall season, averaging 10 runs per game.
But soft-tossers have proven to be Kryptonite to the Warriors, and Monday’s home game against Noble was no exception.
‘We just don’t hit soft pitching,’ said senior Cody Wimberly after his team came up with just seven safeties and one earned run off Noble’s diminutive southpaw starter. ‘We just can’t stay back.’
Fortunately for the Warriors, the Wildcats couldn’t catch up to Wimberly, who was dominant on the mound in leading Patoka to a 3-1 victory.
The senior righty seemed to get stronger as the game went along, striking out 15 and allowing just two hits in a complete-game effort.
Wimberly walked only two and struck out six in a row at one point, as his fastball was popping and his unique new pitch – a split-finger fastball/knuckleball – was dropping off the table.
‘Cody pitched a whale of a game,’ Patoka coach Clayton Cain Jr. said. ‘Today was definitely Cody’s day.’
It was Wimberly’s second straight dominating start, as he threw a five-inning one-hitter against Odin in his first start of the season.
He was even better Monday, however.
‘My shoulder’s been acting up since my sophomore year, but it just felt good today,’ Wimberly said.
Wimberly shut down a capable Noble lineup featuring standout cleanup hitter Justin Willie. Willie finished 0-for-3 with an RBI groundout and a strikeout.
‘Their No. 4 hitter is about as good as you’ll see around here, and he made him look bad a couple times,’ Cain said.
After stranding six runners in the first four innings, the Warriors finally broke through in the fifth with a decisive three-run rally.
Sawyer Potter got things going with a single, and Nick Beard followed with a misplayed double to left. The Warriors lost a runner at the plate moments later on a grounder to third by Drew Baldridge, but a Luke Murfin walk loaded the bases, putting Wimberly in position to help himself.
Wimberly came up empty on a couple of big hacks early in his at-bat.
‘I was trying to hit it out,’ Wimberly said. ‘I was trying to do too much.’
But after getting two strikes, he shortened his swing and sent a shot under the Noble third baseman’s glove to plate two runs. Patoka lost another runner at the plate on a botched squeeze play moments later, but John Spicer gave the Warriors an insurance run with an RBI single.
Noble broke up Wimberly’s shutout with a run in the sixth, but the righty closed out strong in the seventh, fanning two more batters and retiring the side in order.
The Warriors (5-2) helped Wimberly out by making just one error behind him.
‘Today we made some plays in the field,’ Cain said. ‘I think that was the difference in the game.’
Saturday’s North Clay
T-Town 14, Patoka 6
After a wild first inning that saw the Wooden Shoes strike for five, only to see the Warriors counter with four, T-Town (6-0) pulled away with the help of 13 bases on balls.
Wimberly launched a three-run homer in the first and finished 2-for-3. Luke Murfin struck out 10 in 3 2/3 innings of relief, but a tight strike zone contributed to 10 walks by the junior lefty.
Markus Gillespie hit a three-run homer in the first for T-Town and wound up driving in five runs and picking up the win after some early struggles on the hill.
After watching an early 5-1 lead slip away in the championship game against Neoga Saturday, Aug. 30, the Warriors battled back with two-run rallies in the fifth and sixth innings to claim the title with an 8-6 win.
Payne’s three-run homer highlighted the Warriors’ five-run first inning, but the Indians quickly got back in the game with a single tally in the third and two runs in the fourth. Neoga then took a brief 6-5 lead with two runs in the fifth.
Patoka persisted, however, as Beard’s third homer of the day highlighted the Warriors’ decisive late-game rally.
Wimberly and Dylan Adams added two singles and an RBI apiece, while Spicer and Derek Back had run-scoring singles.
Luke Murfin went the distance on the hill and picked up the victory, as he allowed three earned runs and struck out 10.
The Warriors rebounded in a big way in their tournament opener, scoring 15 unanswered runs to erase an early 5-0 deficit against the host team in a 15-5 victory.
Beard kicked off Patoka’s barrage with a three-run homer.
Spicer added two hits and two RBIs, while Back, Murfin and Payne had two hits and an RBI apiece.
Zach Thompson chipped in a two-run single in three at-bats.
Baldridge picked up the win, allowing three earned runs and striking out 10 in five innings.