RURAL STREATOR – The thing about hits is, it doesn’t really matter how many you get.
It’s when you get ‘em.
Dwight managed only three hits to Woodland/Flanagan-Cornell’s eight Monday at Woodland’s Windy Confines, but the last of those three Trojans hits – a softly lined, two-run single by Hudson Beier in the fourth inning – proved to be the difference as the visitors defeated the host Warriors, 4-2, in a battle of previously winless baseball teams and future Tri-County Conference rivals.
“I’m hoping it’s just that it’s early in the year and we’re pretty young, but we need to work on our mental approach at the plate a little bit. It’ll come. We just need to work and stay positive, and good things will happen.”— WFC baseball coach "Bubs" Hoffman
“This is starting to become a theme with us, where we’re leaving a lot of guys on base,” Warriors coach “Bubs” Hoffman said. “It seems like we’re getting guys in scoring position with less than two outs and just not getting the job done right now.
“I’m hoping that comes around. I’m hoping it’s just that it’s early in the year and we’re pretty young, but we need to work on our mental approach at the plate a little bit. It’ll come. We just need to work and stay positive, and good things will happen.”
WFC (0-4) stranded 10 men on base and batted 2 for 16 (.125) with runners in scoring position, with neither of those two hits – third-inning singles by Nolan Bressi and Xander Boyles – driving in a run.
The Warriors’ first tally came in the third, as leadoff man Carter Ewing was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on Bressi’s aforementioned single and scored on an Ethan Schumm groundout. WFC added its other run in the fifth on a Schumm solo home run to left to start the inning.
There were many more opportunities – most urgently in the seventh with WFC down two runs with two men on and one away after Schumm reached on an error and Boyles tagged his second base hit – but the Warriors were unable to cash them in.
Dwight (1-4), on the other hand, made the most of the chance it had in the fourth to score all four of its runs, the door opened by a walk issued by starting pitcher Boyles and a ground ball error to start the inning. Caden Schroeder hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, Terry Wilkey got an RBI the hard way on a bases-loaded hit by pitch, and cleanup hitter Hudson Beier greeted WFC reliever Ewing with the deciding two-run hit.
All four runs were unearned.
“We had a timely hit there when Hudson Beier came through with the two-run single for us, because before that we kept getting guy on, guy on, but couldn’t move ‘em around,” said Dwight coach J. Golden, whose Trojans stranded seven over the first four innings themselves. “That really put us over the top there.
“We really haven’t pitched it well this year either, so to have Camden Beier [pitching win, 5 IP, 1 ER, 7 K] come out here and pitch the way he did and Tyler Cox [save, 2 IP, 0 R, 1 K] finish the last two innings was fantastic.”
Losing pitcher Boyles (3 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 6 K) and Ewing (3 1/3 IP, 0 R, 6 K) split the mound duties almost down the middle for WFC.
“Defensively we played pretty well today,” Hoffman said, “and I thought Xander for his first time out varsity threw very well, with Carter coming in and holding us in the game. Pitching was really good today. Defense was good.
“Offense, we’re just leaving too many guys on base.”
Schumm with his solo home run, Boyles with two hits and Keegan Boldt with a fourth-inning double down the third-base line led the offense for WFC, which is scheduled to return to action Tuesday, opening its two-game, Tri-County Conference series with Seneca in the Land of the Irish.