Warriors off to hot start in baseball
Alex Kitzman and the Central High School baseball team intend to win their share of games this season.
The Warriors, who were 6-13 last season, made a statement to their opponents in the opening weekend of the baseball season.
Central swept through the Bill Fanning Classic, defeating Fossil Ridge 13-4 on Saturday at Suplizio Field. The Warriors (3-0) scored 39 runs and had 37 hits in three games, nearly winning by the 10-run rule each game. They had 11 hits in Saturday’s victory.
“We have a solid core of guys,” said Kitzman, one of 10 seniors on the team. “I’ve been playing with a lot of these guys for four or five years now. I feel we’re pretty strong and can go far this year.”
Kitzman, who was 2 for 3 with a triple in Saturday’s win, wasn’t a bit surprised with the Warriors’ early success.
“We figured we’d play our hardest like we did,” Kitzman said. “I wasn’t surprised. I actually expected something like this.”
The Warriors (3-0) figured out Fossil Ridge’s starter by the second inning, scoring four runs for a 4-0 lead. Klancy Krafka led off with a double and scored on a bases-loaded walk. Kyle Rowe singled in a run and Tanner Reid had a sacrifice fly.
Central added five runs in the third. Krafka led off with a solo home run to over the left-field wall, Alec Rupe had a sac fly and Reid drove in two. The Warriors added a run in the fourth when Kitzman tripled and scored on Taylor Haynie’s single.
“We were pretty consistent,” Central coach Chuck Yost said. “We got an early lead for our young pitcher to help him out. We had one error in the field and it didn’t hurt us too bad.”
Noah Sanchez, who started his first game on varsity Saturday, proved he can handle the big stage.
“It was fun growing up watching JUCO every year and finally getting out here to pitch on the mound I’ve seen all the JUCO pitchers pitch on,” Sanchez said. “I knew what I had to do.”
The sophomore limited the Sabercats (0-3) to four earned runs on five hits in five innings.
“He handled it great,” Yost said. “He wanted the ball. He did a great job out there. He looked like a seasoned vet out there. He worked ahead and made them hit his pitch.”
Although Sanchez gave up two runs on three walks, one hit and a wild pitch in the fifth to keep Fossil Ridge’s hopes alive, he had little to worry about with the way his teammates are hitting the ball.
“It’s pretty special,” Yost said. “I knew we were a pretty good hitting team, but this really shows we can do some things. It’s fun watching these guys swing the bat right now.”
Central will take their hot bats to Phoenix next weekend for three games.
“We’re playing some tough teams down there,” Yost said. “We built a little momentum here and proved to ourselves we can do some things right. It will be fun to get challenged.”