SOUTH WHITLEY — It’s baseball’s opening week and Whitko had no time to warm up.
Monday, the Wildcats faced the best class 3A has to offer in their season opener. Preseason No. 1-ranked New Haven traveled to South Whitley.
For three innings, Whitko held its ground against the Bulldogs trailing 1-0.
A four-run fourth inning turned the gears for New Haven. The Bulldogs went on to win 8-1, holding the Wildcats to two hits for the game.
“We didn’t play great, we didn’t play bad, we played OK,” Whitko head coach Erik Hisner said. “Unfortunately, OK is not good enough to beat the No. 1 team in the state.”
Starting pitcher Wes Gensch kept the Wildcats in it through three innings. Gensch gave up just one run in the second inning.
Gensch left the game after three and a third innings — four earned runs and three hits allowed — as New Haven extended its lead in the fourth inning.
Brandon Pease helped New Haven bring across four runs in the stretch. Pease went 3-for-4 at the plate scoring two runs and stealing three bases.
Errors by Whitko helped New Haven along. The Wildcats had four errors in the game giving what Hisner calls extra outs.
“We made a couple of mistakes and gave a very good team more than three outs twice and they made us pay,” Hisner noted.
New Haven added three more runs before Whitko got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning.
Austin Mort and Riley Cokl both picked up a hit for the Wildcats on doubles.
The season continues for Whitko today with its first road trip to Fort Wayne Harding.
Whitko’s 0-1 start to the season doesn’t come without some promising play in Hisner’s eyes.
“I liked our intensity and competitiveness tonight,” Hisner said. “If we continue to do those two things well and clean up a couple of the mistakes we made tonight, we will be fine.”