Wolves make fifth straight trip to Sectional finals

WESTFIELD- For the fifth time in as many years, the No. 1 Westfield Wolverines will return to the Section 6 championship game Saturday at Diethrick Park, after they cruised to a 13-1 Class D semifinals victory over the No. 5 Sherman Wildcats, Thursday.

“We were pretty confident,” Westfield coach Doug Kaltenbach said. “Not to take anything away from them, but we have been playing great and we weren’t scared.”

The Wolverines belted 13 hits to rally behind the stellar performance on the mound from junior Greg Schroeder, who allowed just two hits and struck out nine in six innings of work.

“He pitched great,” Kaltenbach commented on Schroeder. “He’s been awesome. He’s probably the most underrated pitcher around here. He has been consistent, calm and he has a great curveball.”

After Schroeder and the Wolverine defense retired the side in order to kick off the game, Westfield wasted no time getting on the board after Nolan Hunt ripped an RBI-single down the right-field line to score Tanner Dahl from second.

Sherman’s number nine hitter Hunter Cooper broke up Schroeder’s no-hit bit in the top of the third, when he cracked a two-out single up the middle.

“I think it’s a statement of how good the Schroeder kid is, he was terrific,” Sherman coach Ty Harper said. “Our top five guys have been producing pretty steadily for us all year and he just had an answer for them the whole game.”

A single from Jon Wilson got the bats going in the bottom of the third for Westfield, when Dahl followed with a single of his own. With runners on first and second, Hunt blasted a three-run homer over the fence to extend the lead to 4-0. Joe Quagliana and Max Bates then ripped back-to-back doubles, Bates’ driving in Quagliana. Bates later scored when he stole third and the throw got away from the Sherman third baseman to give the Wolverines a 6-0 lead after three.

“The big hit was the home run by Hunt,” Kaltenbach added. “It was a three-run home run. I think at the time it was 1-0 so I think it took the wind out of them.”

Westfield kept rolling in the bottom of the fourth as it plated seven more runs. Hunt came through for the second time in as many innings knocking in a two-run double before he advanced two bases on passed balls to score himself. With runners on first and second, Eric Fermier reached first on an error from Sherman’s shortstop, which also allowed Bates to score from second and Schroeder to move to third. After Trevor North reached on a single, Chris Catalano banged out a two-run double to score both North and Fermier that extended the lead to 13 runs.

The lone Sherman run came in the top of the sixth, when Kyle Carpenter scored on an error after a ground ball to third was thrown away to cut the lead to 13-1.

“We got beat by a really good team today,” continued Harper. “Westfield is a really good team and they showed it. I think they’re going to be a tough team to beat in the finals.”

Hunt led the Wolverine offense finishing 3 for 4 on the day with a double, a home run and five RBIs, while Tanner Dahl also had three hits including a double of his own. Jon Wilson had two hits for the winners.

“We did what we had to do, we played well fundamentally,” Kaltenbach added. “I don’t think we had an error until the sixth inning.”

Westfield will take on North Collins Saturday at Diethrick Park in Jamestown at 10 a.m. where it will look to get off its five year losing slide.

“We feel good,” Kaltenbach concluded. “Our goal is not to win the Sectional finals. Our goal is to go further than that. It’s just another step we’ve got to take.”

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