Darren Doyle, story and photos
Edmonson County capitalized on a shaky second Butler County inning that included six Wildcat walks, a balk, and an error that led to three runs walked in. Other than Walker Hazel, who went 2-2 with a sac bunt and a walk, and starting pitcher Dylan Waldrop, who went to 2-3 with four big RBI's, it was a relatively quiet night offensively for the Wildcats.
"We played to our strengths tonight," said Head Coach Bo West. "We can tell when we have a pitcher on the ropes and we'll make him throw strikes. We took advantage of that in the second inning."
Waldrop pitched 5 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and seven walks. He allowed one run in the first but got even with the Bears when he smacked a two-run double later in the inning to gain a 2-1 lead. He gave up a leadoff triple in the third, but was able to maintain his composure and get the next three outs on a 6-3 putout and two flyouts, giving up only one more run.
He ran into some trouble in the 6th as he gave up a single, although he picked off the runner at first, but an error and two straight walks loaded the bases as he was lifted for Walker Hazel.
West said he felt like Waldrop didn't have his best stuff but he fought through and held the lead for his team. "He's a mentally tough kid and he found a way to battle through that tonight. Honestly, his fastball was really the only thing working tonight and he has four pitches. But that happens sometimes, and he still gave us 5 and 2/3, it was huge for us."
Waldrop agreed that his pitches weren't as good as he would have wanted. "They weren't working all that well," he said. "I didn't have the best control, but it wasn't the worst. I just tried to put it across the plate and let my guys do their work."
West commented on the fastball, but Waldrop wasn't too happy with that, either. "I just didn't have much going for me tonight, but I just tried to battle. I just try to do what Coach Bo wants me to do, do my part from a team principle."
Hazel took the mound in the top of the 6th in a bases loaded jam and gave up a two-run single on the first pitch, but he was able to get the next batter to foul out. He pitched a perfect seventh to earn the save as the Wildcats went on to win 9-4.
"A district win is always good, especially against a rival," West said. "We got one against Grayson last week and we'll head down the road tomorrow night for another (against Butler County in Morgantown)." West said they will be facing a much tougher pitcher on Tuesday night against the Bears.
"I just tell our guys, as long as we take care of us, we'll give ourselves a chance. We don't worry about distractions, this or that...We'll worry about taking care of our business and see what happens."
Other Wildcats helping at the plate were Shawn Winchester who went 1-4 and Logan Lindsey who went 1-2 with an RBI and two walks.
The Wildcats are now 12-8 on the season and are 2-1 in District 12 play. First pitch against Butler County is scheduled for 5:30PM.