On Wednesday, April 24, the Ola Mustang baseball team hosted Veterans High School for a doubleheader on their first 5A playoff game of the season. Things got underway at four as the Mustangs struck out the first three batters to step forward to the plate for the Warhawks.
With high intensity and momentum, the Mustangs came onto the field full-swing, as Jack Witmer, junior outfielder and #23, hit the ball down center field, but he was caught out by the Warhawks. The Warhawks began to click as they followed up with two more outs.
Heading into the top of the second, the score was tied 0-0. The Mustangs entered the field with a bang, catching two back-to-back pop-ups and quickly following up by striking out the next batter for the Warhawks.
As the Mustangs switched from defense to offense, they looked as if they were ready to put on a show. Cason Barnett, senior center and #16, hit the ball to the fence, allowing him to reach second base.
Sterling Richardson, senior utility player and #18, came right behind him with a great hit that froze the defense long enough for him to reach first base. Despite their efforts, they were not able to score during this inning.
Entering the third, the story was no different. Each team managed to get three quick outs, leaving the score 0-0, but the Mustangs pulled towards a dramatic shift in momentum.
“The main thing was just trying to get into the bullpen as far as hitters go, you know. In a three-game series, or a two-game, trying to get the sweep, you want to get deep in the bullpen. Try to see as many pitches as you can and break it open,” Kyle McCreary, coach, said.
Coming onto the field to bat for the Mustangs, Richardson hit the ball deep down left field, bringing in two runners as the Mustangs had bases loaded and Austin Brown, junior outfielder and #15, served as a sub for Richardson.
“It made me feel good. It brought positive energy and a positive result to the team,” Brown said.
The floodgates began to open for the Mustangs and it was only a matter of time before they got their big play.
As Dalton Thomas, senior utility player and #13, approached home plate prepared to hit, he unloaded a big swing which carried the ball all the way over the fence, resulting in a home run and allowing him and his teammate to score, making the game 7-0.
“I was just trying to do my job at the plate and I got down with two strikes, and I was just trying to make contact, but he left the change-up hanging down the middle of the plate, so I just took advantage of it. I got my foot down early and took a hack,” Thomas said.
Working as a unit, the Mustangs finished their first game with a final score of 10-0. Despite their win in the first game, the Mustangs had little time to celebrate as they had to prep for their second game against the Warhawks.
“I think we’re going to pull this one out the same way,” Brown said.
Carrying over from the previous game, the Mustangs came out with the same mindset and potency, leading to yet another 10-0 win, this time over the Warhawks.
“I think the guys let that boil over to the next game. Evan came in and was throwing strikes and Dylan, and I think our hitters fed off of that…and we were able to rally and get some runs and end it pretty quick,” McCreary said.
Trying to keep their season alive, the Mustangs look forward to bringing the same intensity to their next playoff game. The first pitch is at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 at Ola.