Wolves’ bats shine in tune up for playoffs

MAYVILLE — Over the last nine games, the Westfield Wolverines scored a total of 21 runs, struggling to get more than two runs in a game. In the last game before the playoffs, Westfield compiled a total of 17 runs in five innings to defeat the Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds 17-4 on Wednesday night. Both teams play in the playoffs on Friday, so they both used this game as a preparation for the big games upcoming.

“We have struggled at the plate most of this year as it has been a challenge to get two runs,” stated Westfield coach Dan Martin. “We have spent a lot of time trying to get runs in and today it finally clicked. Everyone contributed and did their job.”

Westfield didn’t take long to put its bats to work as the Wolverines erupted for nine runs in the first inning. Dylan Scriven got the rally started with a double. Colby Bills followed with an RBI single. Brad Babcock would contribute with an RBI single before nine hitter Matt See chipped in with an RBI single. After batting through the lineup in the first inning, Chautauqua Lake took out pitcher Zach Martin who recorded the save against Dunkirk on Monday. The Thunderbirds put in Kalen Miller, a freshman who has never pitched in a game. Mike Johnson came up for his second time that inning, to hit a two run single. Bret Babcock concluded the scoring for the inning with a two run single.

The Thunderbirds responded by scoring a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Kyler Majka kept up his solid hitting with a single and moved up 90 feet from a wild pitch. Nate Engdahl singled to bring Majka to third where Brendon Rowe’s groundout put the Thunderbirds on the scoreboard.

The Wolverines added five more runs in the third inning, taking advantage of miscues from Chautauqua Lake. After Johnson and Scriven led off with free passes, Bret Babcock chipped in with an RBI single. After Bills walked, Brock Schuster singled another run home. Nate Culbreth then added a two run double as the outfielder lost a high fly ball, where the ball landed feet away from him. “Today was a reminder that things are never as good or bad as they seem,” Chautauqua Lake coach Bryan Bongiovanni stated. “Perhaps we came in a little overconfident and let our guard down. We weren’t ready to play and Westfield was ready to play, jumping all over us. As a team, we are much better than the effort we put forth today. The roof caved in early and we didn’t respond appropriately.”

Westfield continued its solid hitting in the fourth inning. Scriven led off with a single before Bret Babcock doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Colby Bills took advantage with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Pinch hitter Josh Hoffman contributed as he struck out, but was alert enough to run to first as the pitched was dropped by the catcher, where he proceeded to overthrow first base. The inning was highlighted with a two run double from Nate Culbreth.

The Thunderbirds continued to fight hard and put a group of hits together in the fourth inning. Luke Waters started off with a single. After Noah Webb walked, pinch hitter Tate Olson singled to bring Waters home. Zach Fischer singled to load the bases where Majka recorded an RBI from being hit by the pitch. Cody Triana followed with an RBI single to give Chautauqua Lake its fourth run. “We will learn from this and move forward,” Bongiovanni added.

Freshman pitcher Wyatt Schuster recorded the victory in his first time pitching for the Wolverines. Schuster has not been on the mound at any level in over two years. He gave up four runs from four hits in 3.2 innings of work while fanning two. Matt See and Easton Seger both did a solid job of pitching in relief.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Martin stated. “Wyatt did a great job of throwing strikes. He got himself out of trouble a few times during tough situations. He was given the opportunity to pitch and he took advantage of his chance as I was impressed.”

Martin, Miller and Rowe all spent time on the mound for the Thunderbirds.

The Wolverines recorded a total of fifteen hits highlighted by Bret Babcock adding four hits and three RBI’s. Nate Culbreth also added three hits, including two doubles. According to Martin, “Bret has battled back from injury after missing the first part of the season. He has done great work with the bat. Nate is a hard worker and has been disciplined swinging at good pitches.”

Scriven and Brock Schuster also had a multiple hit game.

The Thunderbirds spread out all of their hits as six different players contributed with a single.

Both teams play on Friday with the official playoff bracket coming out minutes after this game ended. “This was a tough year for us,” Martin stated. “It is great to play at this level and have a solid victory right before the playoffs begin.”

COMMENTS