West holds off East's rally to stay undefeated in District 30-4A play
In his only at bat of the evening, Corey Willemin delivered.
After sitting in the dugout all evening and watching cross-town rival Victoria East rally from a four-run deficit to tie the game 5-5, the junior helped secure a victory for Victoria West by posting a RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.
The shot sent Cody Cavazos across home plate, leading to a 7-5 victory for the Warriors, while improving the team's unblemished District 30-4A record to 3-0.
After the game, Willemin admitted the hit felt good from the moment of contact.
"I was thinking it was going to get through, and it did," he said. "I knew it was going to be a base hit that scored a run.
"I think that gave us a lot of confidence and put the other team down a little bit. It felt real good (to do it against East)."
West head coach Manuel Alvarado agreed, pointing to Willemin's lone at bat as the play of the game.
"That was huge," the coach said. "That was a great job by Corey, coming off the bench and getting that hit for us.
"Just because (someone) is not playing, that doesn't mean they don't have a role. We are asking you to do a job, and he did that. That is an important role."
For much of the game, however, it appeared West (9-7 overall) would simply cruise to victory.
East jumped out to an early one-run lead in the first, but it was quickly erased as the Warriors scored four runs in the bottom of the inning.
West would build on the lead in the following inning as Miles Manning delivered a RBI double to score Seth Harrison.
The advantage held until the top of the fourth, when East right fielder Hunter Perkins got on base with a single and Seth Christian scored as a courtesy runner to pull the Titans within three runs, 5-2.
Then, in the fifth inning, the Titans (12-9, 2-1) rallied.
J.J. Garcia scored from third base on a passed ball, and, in the following at-bat, Trey Thormahlen hit an RBI single to send Tim Gleinser home, trimming West's cushion to a single run at 5-4.
One batter later, Perkins gave East consecutive hits by blasting a RBI triple to the center field wall, sending Thormahlen home to tie the game 5-5.
"Thormahlen came through with a hit, Hunter came through with a back-to-back hit, and that's what you need," East head coach Wes Kolle said. "Those guys are swinging a hot stick right now, and they came through for us."
But it did not take long for West to answer.
In the bottom of the fifth, Blake Staff got on base off an error, which also allowed a runner to score, and the Warriors reclaimed the lead at 6-5, setting up Willemin's big hit in the following inning.
Defensively, Manning earned the victory by pitching the entire game. The senior recorded 11 strikeouts, including two in the final inning, while giving up just five hits
"He kind of struggled a little bit when they got the three runs, but we asked him coming up to the sixth inning to be a bulldog for us and that is what he gave us," Alvarado said.