Wildcats split weekend pair

   SOUTH WHITLEY — In the bottom of the seventh inning and the winning run on third base, the last thing Blackford expected was for Josh Smith to steal home.
   Tied 2-2, Smith did just that breaking for home plate in game one of Whitko baseball’s doubleheader at home Saturday.
   “I don’t think anybody in the ballpark expected us to try a steal of home to win the game,” Whitko head coach Erik Hisner said. “Josh Smith made a great read. The pitcher never made him stop and he made a great slide to win it.”
   The Wildcats got six and a third innings from freshman Ethan Nicodemus on the mound.
   After Blackford erased a 2-0 Whitko lead in the top of the seventh, sophomore Alex Stoddard picked up the win.
   Nicodemus gave up six hits and two earned runs while striking out six.
   Stoddard led off the Whitko scoring. A double from Josh Pratt was Whitko’s only hit of the game but drove in Stoddard. Later, Pratt scored on a wild pitch.
   “We only got one hit but we did a lot of little things that enabled us to score some runs,” Hisner said. “We drew some walks, made some great dirt ball reads and stole a few bases.”  
   Whitko fell behind early in the playback game. Blackford opened up an 8-0 lead through five innings of play.
   The two teams combined for 25 hits (Whitko 12, Blackford 13) after only having eight total in the first.
   In a 9-4 loss, Whitko picked up all four of its runs during the sixth inning.
   Ethan Nicodemus and Riley Cokl both had doubles while Austin Mort went 3-for-4 on the day at the plate.
   Even at 2-2, Whitko returns at 11 a.m. Saturday at Argos.