WNC baseball gains split against Mt. Hood
Chase Kaplan pounded the plate for eight innings, and was rewarded handsomely.
The Western Nevada College left-hander scattered eight hits over eight innings and threw just 94 pitches, and battery mate Tim Lichty drove in two runs to lead the Wildcats to a 7-2 win in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader against Mt. Hood at John L. Harvey Field.
In the opener, Mt. Hood scored four runs in the fifth inning on just two hits en route to a 5-4 victory.
The non conference split left WNC with an 8-6 record. The teams square off again today at 11:30 a.m. in another doubleheader.
“It was important to stop the bleeding (first-game loss),” Kaplan said after striking out three and walking just one. “Matt (Young) pitched a good game in the opener, but Mt. Hood took advantage of a couple of hits.
“I’m averaging under a strikeout an inning. They put the ball in play, and the defense did a great job behind me. I threw four change-ups the whole day and the rest were fastballs. The fastball was running about a ball and a half inside to the left-handed hitters.”
Kaplan likes to work fast, and that always helps the defense. Of his 94 pitches, 60 were for strikes.
And, unlike the opener when WNC’s offense didn’t get on track until the latter stages of the seven-inning game, the Wildcats came out swinging in the nightcap.
Former Spanish Springs star Justin Mannens legged out an infield single with one out in the first. He scored on a double to deep center by Chad Bell. After D.J. Peters grounded to third, Lichty doubled to right to make it 2-0.
Western Nevada made it 4-0 in the third, and again Lichty, the former Galena star, played a role in the uprising.
Mannens again reached on a one-out single, moved to third on Bell’s single, and scored when he and Bell executed a double steal. For some reason, the Mt. Hood catcher elected to throw the ball through to second. After an out, Lichty singled home his second run of the contest.
Kaplan, who left runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings, yielded a run in the fifth on three infield singles and an error.
“It’s definitely frustrating (when that kind of stuff happens),” Kaplan said.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, the defense makes the plays.”
WNC got the run back in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-1 on a run-scoring single by Peters, and Mt. Hood scored its final run in the eighth on a single by Bowen Ogata. WNC added two in the eighth on a single by shortstop Casey Cornwell.
In the opener, Mt. Hood took a 1-0 lead on a triple by Taylor Travess and a fielder’s choice. The score remained 1-0 until the fifth when the Saints tacked on four more runs on just two hits in the fifth.
Young, the former Reno High ace, got the first out of the inning and went ahead 0-2 on Thomas Lampkin. Young plunked Lampkin with an inside fastball. He gave up a single to Andrew Haley and then plunked Jay Rogers. A run-scoring single by J.T. Williams, a run-scoring infield out by Nolan McCall and a two-run single by Ogata made it 5-0.
Young struggled with command of his fastball throughout the game. He had better success with his curveball.
“That hit batsman was huge,” Young said. “I had struck out the first guy, and I thought I had the second guy (Lampkin) struck out. It all came apart after that (hit batsman). I just didn’t have command of my fastball.”
The Wildcats surged in the sixth, scoring four runs after two outs. Lichty hit a two-run homer to right and Daniel Nist hit a two-run single to make it 5-4. Mt. Hood pulled starter Nate Hunter in favor of Camden Muller, who struck out Mannens to end the inning.
In the seventh, WNC put a runner on second with two outs. Lichty flied to left to end the game.