Kaltenbach gets 400th win

WESTFIELD – Before this season started, Westfield coach Doug Kaltenbach went through his 20-plus years of coaching and added up his overall record.

When he was done, he found out he sat at 398 career varsity wins.

Win No. 399 came Wednesday in a 27-0 pounding over Panama, and win No. 400 came Thursday with a 3-1 victory over Pine Valley in non-league high school baseball action.

“It’s hard to believe,” Kaltenbach said. “They are taking me out to breakfast tomorrow. It’s been great. I remember my first day when I started. It feels like a couple seasons ago. I have been lucky and have had great kids. It makes it easy and fun.”

Westfield pitcher Nolan Hunt made sure his coach would get his 400th win as he pitched a complete-game gem. Hunt faced a jam in the third inning as he loaded the bases and walked a run in before striking out the next two batters to escape the jam. Those two strikeouts were the start of seven straight batters retired via strikeout.

“Nolan is tough,” Kaltenbach said. “In the third, they had bases loaded and he lost his composure. Up until then, he was throwing all fastballs. Once he started changing speeds, he’s tough. It’s the first time he has pitched off a mound all year. He is good. He is a tough competitor.”

“To start the season with a pitcher like Nolan and a team like that, it’s a pretty steep mountain to climb,” Pine Valley coach Chris Buczek said. “To have a guy throw the ball like that was eye opening for the batters. It’s not something that caught us off guard, it was just unexpected to see someone that good so early in the season.”

Hunt’s counterpart, Thomas Raiport, was equally as sharp on the hill as he surrendered just three runs in seven innings of work.

Hunt had an RBI groundout in the first inning and an RBI single in the third inning. Westfield’s final run came in the bottom of the sixth as Hunt reached on a single, advanced to second on an error, moved to third on an interference call and scored on a wild pitch.

“Thomas is a gamer,” Buczek said of his hurler. “This is his life. It’s something he carries close to him. He came to the ballpark in the right frame of mind and was ready to go. I was very happy with his performance. Thomas has been around and is experienced. We were two hits away from making that a different game.”

The Panthers put runners at second and third with two outs in the seventh inning, but fittingly, Hunt recorded a strikeout to end the game.

“It was a great game,” Kaltenbach said. “Raiport was throwing BBs. Give Pine Valley all the credit in the world. I wouldn’t expect it any other way. We always have great games with Pine Valley. I’m shocked it was that good of a baseball game in the conditions we had, at this time of the year. There were no errors in the game.”

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