Gladiator Baseball begins district with a bang

Image: The Italy Gladiators get ready for their first district game.

The Italy Gladiators get ready for their first district game. (Anne Sutherland)

Italy High School baseball is in full swing and started on a high note. Axtell High School traveled to Italy on Monday and stood their ground as best they could. Senior Justin Buchanan was the winning pitcher with the final score Italy 4, Axtell 1.

The tally at the end of the game showed Buchanan with 11 strikeouts and 3 walks. Axtell had 12 strikeouts and 2 walks. Ready for the season to begin, Head Coach Josh Ward commented about the varsity and JV games, “It was good to start off the district season with a win. I was pleased with how Justin Buchanan threw the ball, and our defense made some good plays behind him when we needed them to. Justin was on top of his game, and when he is at his best, he is tough to hit. Keith Lindsay, the pitcher from Axtell threw the ball good as well, he did a good job of keeping our hitters off balance. Our kids kept battling and did a good job of scratching a couple of runs across in the 4th inning. We were able to capitalize and put up two more runs in the bottom of the 6th with hits from Cole Hopkins and Kyle Jackson.”

Coach Ward thinks the team has a very good chance to win district, “I feel that we have a good solid team this year. We are in a very good district, but I believe that we can be right in the middle of the district race. It is going to be important for us to pitch well and play solid defense. Our bats have kind of gotten off to a slow start, but I believe they are going to come around.”

“Our JV played very well against Axtell, (final score Italy 13, Axtell 4) I was impressed with how well we swung the bats. Tyler Anderson pitched very well and our defense made some good plays behind him. I am excited about this group. The future looks bright for these kids,” explained Coach Ward.

The varsity Gladiators will travel to Frankston for a 3 day tournament March 8, 9 and 10. The next district game will be in Grandview on March 16 beginning with the JV game at 4:30.