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Whiteoak Wildcats defeat Manchester to win sectional title 

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Whiteoak's Eli Roberts hits a home run for the Wildcats in their sectional final game against Manchester. He finished 2-for-3 in the game, scoring two runs. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

MOWRYSTOWN — The Whiteoak Wildcats gained a Division IV SE District championship on Wednesday evening by defeating conference rival Manchester, 7-1, as they continue their postseason path to the district round. 

WHS had a slow start offensively, but from the third through fifth innings they did the most damage on the bases, and at the plate, scoring all seven of their runs. 

Whiteoak scored two runs in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth inning, with the three runs in the bottom of the fifth coming off an Eli Roberts home run for the final 7-1 lead. 

In all, the Wildcats totaled four hits and walked seven times. 

“It was a 7-1 win, and that's a fairly decisive win in baseball, there is no question about that. It is unfair to put expectations on anybody to think you are going to go out and 10-run rule somebody, and that’s just not the way it worked,” WHS head coach Chris Veidt said. “I’ll tell you, (Applegate) on the mound for them made all the difference in the world.

“We hadn’t seen him this year. He had a decent fastball, he used his curveball well in appropriate situations and it was a good pitch. He was a challenge early, but I felt we adjusted in the fourth inning and ran his pitch count up, and we did exactly what we wanted to do and got to the bullpen.

“When you get into tournament play, you are going to see good pitching. It is nice to see an arm like that to get ready for the tournament run. Landon (Barnett) was at third base and we were talking and he said he’s good (Applegate), and I said I’m glad we are seeing him, and he said absolutely.”

Roberts finished 2-for-3 with the aforementioned home run, plus he added a steal and scored two runs. 

Landon Barnett and Solomon Combs each had a hit, with Barnett going 1-for-4, while Combs was 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and he scored a run. 

The Wildcats also had Carson Emery force two walks, score a run and have two steals. Nate Price finished with two walks, a run and a steal. Zander Roades collected a walk, one run and a steal, and David Donohoo was hit by a pitch on two occasions and he stole one base.

“Offensively, Eli swung the bat well for us, he had the lead-off single and hit the big home run late,” Veidt said. “It was a good game for us, and it was a clean game for us with just one error.”

On the mound, Luken Roades played tough, pitching six innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits, two walks and one hit batter. Roades finished with eight strikeouts, including two innings of two strikeouts (second and sixth innings). 

Kaden Moon-Stone pitched the seventh inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced. 

“I felt we played well,” Veidt said. “We struck out 10 and pitched a two-hitter. Luken pitched well, and in the seventh it was time for Kaden to come in and do what he does, and he was sharp. Kaden relishes that role, and he did well with it.”

The win improves the Wildcats to 24-2 overall, and next for the Division II Southern Hills Athletic Conference champions is a trip to the Division IV SE District Semifinals on Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m. as the No. 1 seeded Wildcats will take on the No. 9 seeded Racine Southern Tornadoes at VA Memorial Stadium.

“We are facing a quality opponent on Saturday in the districts,” Veidt said. “We beat them 4-3 this year, so we’ll have our hands full, but in the end it isn’t about who we play, but how we play. It is about us at this point and it is about one step at a time.

“We had a great crowd, and I was at third base and was like, ‘wow, there are a lot of people here.’ We has a lot of alumni watching, school employees, community members, and Manchester had a nice crowd. It was good to see, and that is great support for the kids. That’s what motivates them and pushes them along.”

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