Senior lefty Hunt pitches Westfield into Final Four

Nolan Hunt delivers a pitch.
OBSERVER File Photo. Pictured above, Westfield’s Nolan Hunt delivers a pitch against Webster Christian during the 2015 NYSPHSAA Class D Far West Regional at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In another edition of the “Remember When” series, the 2015 Westfield baseball team is featured. Throughout this week, the OBSERVER will be running the Wolverines’ last four playoff games, including their state title game appearance. Today we continue with the Class D Far West Regional game.

BATAVIA — As the final out was recorded Saturday at Dwyer Stadium in the Class D Far West Regional baseball game, Westfield’s Nolan Hunt almost didn’t want to celebrate his team’s 10-1 victory over Webster Christian.

Even after pitching five innings of no-hit ball and striking out 13 in dominant fashion, Hunt knows his team is two wins away from a state title.

“He said we have more to go,” Westfield coach Doug Kaltenbach said.

Hunt, who will be pitching for Canisius next year, struck out at least two batters in every inning he pitched. He struck out the side in three straight innings and struck out six in a row.

Eric Fermier takes a swing.
OBSERVER File Photo. Westfield’s Eric Fermier takes a swing.

“Nolan is going Division I and you would never even know,” Kaltenbach said. “He doesn’t say a word. What else can I say about Nolan? He didn’t want to celebrate here. The kids feed off him. Whether he admits it or not, he is the heart and soul of our team. We play so good with him. He gives us confidence. He has been a dominant pitcher.”

Of course the Westfield offense did its part as it gave Hunt a 3-0 lead before he even took the mound.

In the top of the first, with one out, Tanner Dahl reached on an error and Hunt followed with an infield single to put two runners aboard. The duo moved into scoring position on a double steal before Max Bates belted a two-run double to left field for the early 2-0 lead. Bates crossed home plate on an error as Greg Schroeder’s fly ball to right field was dropped, giving the Section VI school a 3-0 lead.

The Wolverines were far from done.

In the second inning, Jonathan Wilson’s one-out hit to left field got past the diving left fielder and rolled to the wall, allowing Wilson to advance to third and Hunt’s high fly ball to right field was lost in the sun by the right fielder, allowing Wilson to score for the 4-0 lead. Hunt was credited with a double and promptly moved to third base on a wild pitch. He then promptly stole home. As the catcher threw the ball back to Parker, Hunt took off for home and slid safely into home for the run, and a commanding 5-0 lead. Joe Quagliana then reached base on a two-out infield single, stole second and scored on a single from Bates. Quagliana looked to be dead in the water as the relay throw beat him, but the throw was off the mark, allowing Quagliana to cross home plate for a 6-0 lead.

Westfield baseball team.

OBSERVER File Photo. Members of the Westfield baseball team are pictured after they defeated Section V’s Webster Christian, 10-1, in the 2015 NYSPHSAA Class D Far West Regional game at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia.

Westfield stole five bases in the first two innings and stole 10 bases on 11 attempts for the game while it also benefited from six Warriors errors.

“It was great,” Kaltenbach said of the stolen bases and the early lead. “That was our plan from the very beginning. I told them we were going to use every baserunning play we have. That’s the way we go. We like to do that. We were playing a team that has never seen us before, and I know that’s hard to overcome.

Westfield added a run in the fifth as Eric Fermier crossed home plate thanks to Webster Christian’s fourth error, making the score 7-0.

And if the game was not out of reach after five innings, it surely was after the sixth inning as Westfield scored three more runs thanks to aggressive baserunning. Wilson scored on a double steal, Dahl scored on an RBI single from Hunt and Hunt scored on an error for a 10-0 cushion.

Schroeder, who had not pitched since the Section VI semifinals against Sherman, pitched the final two innings. He struck out two and gave up just one hit and an unearned run.

Webster Christian broke up the no-hitter in the sixth as Jerry Judgwig had a two-out single, but no damage was done as Schroeder got the ensuing batter to ground out to end the inning.

In the postseason, the Wolverines have outscored their opponents, 39-2.

“He hasn’t pitched in two weeks now and he will be pitching in Binghamton, so we had to pitch him,” Kaltenbach said of his decision to take Hunt off the mound. “This was our plan coming into the game.”

Westfield had 13 hits in the game, including three doubles and a triple.

Wilson tripled; Hunt had three hits with two doubles and an RBI; and Bates had two hits, as did Fermier.

“We smoked the ball,” Kaltenbach said. “These guys keep coming through. They drove the ball all day. We play $500 for these bats. Let the bats do the work.”

Now, Westfield travels to Conlon Field in McArthur Park in Binghamton next Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We have played a lot of teams in the last six or seven years we have beaten who have gone on to win states,” Kaltenbach said. “We have beaten these champions and we can do this. This isn’t a far-out idea. This gives a legitimacy to our program. I couldn’t ask for a better team. They have done everything I have asked since Day 1. We have one of the best teams in the state and we are going to go and try to prove it.”

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.