Whitney — The JV Gladiators hit and hit often on their way to a 13-2 win over the Whitney JV Wildcats Friday. Marvin Cox went the distance on the mound and finished with a strikeout while his Whitney counterparts had their struggles.
John Escamilla had another solid performance behind the plate. Escamilla, tagged two Whitney runners out at the plate during the course of the game and quick-threw to teammate, Kevin Roldan, covering third base, to catch a Wildcat napping for an out. Chace McGinnis got under a fly ball at shortstop while first baseman, Cody Boyd, teamed up with Cox to keep Whitney’s runners glued to the bag.
Kyle Fortneberry and Tyler Anderson had hot bats along with, Zain Byers, who accounted for two doubles and a single. Hank Seabolt and Tyler Crawley both scored their first runs of the season to help improve Italy’s JV district record to 3-1.
The varsity Gladiators are down 2 runs to 1 early in the contest but pitcher, Caden Jacinto, holds his mound until his team can get some momentum going offensively. Down 4-1 in the top of the fifth-inning, the tide begins to turn when Italy quickly pulls within 1 run of the Wildcats, 4-3. With two outs, Caden’s cousin, Reid Jacinto, catapults a 2RBI double into Whitney’s outfield to make the score 5-4 in favor of the Gladiators.
With Jase Holden up to the plate, Reid steals third. Holden is walked to put two Gladiators on base. Chase Hamilton steps to the plate and Holden advances to second base. On a wild pitch, Reid steals home to make the score 6-4 while Holden sneaks to third. Hamilton continues to work Whitney’s pitcher until another miscue allows Holden to slide safely home under the pitchers tag. When the dust settled, Italy had a 7-4 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.
Catcher Ross Stiles trades places with Caden. With two outs, Stiles gets the strike three call for the third out and Italy charges into the dugout for a chance to increase their lead.
Quickly facing two outs in the top of sixth-inning, however, Justin Buchanan singles for Italy but Cole Hopkins grounds out for the third out and Stiles returns to the mound.
Hamilton hauls in a fly ball to centerfield for the first out and with Whitney’s dugout continuing to mimic the theme song to the movie JAWS hoping to rattle Stiles, Stiles manages to keep Italy’s hopes afloat with another strike three call for the third out.
In the top of the seventh and with Italy still leading 7-4, Caden flies out to centerfield and Reid flies out, as well. Justin Wood gets walked to put a Gladiator on base but a deep fly ball by Holden is caught for the third out. Whitney has one final chance to extend the game and try to take a bite out of Italy’s momentum.
Stiles is back on the mound for Italy and continues to hear the jawing from the Wildcat dugout during every windup. Whitney’s first batter hits a single and the jawing grows louder. The next batter flies out to Buchanan at shortstop for the first out. Stiles records another strikeout and the Italy fans roar with encouragement. The Wildcats get an RBI single to make the score 7-5
However, the mound wasn’t exactly Amity Island and there was no Chief Brody or Matt Hooper to save the day for the jawing Wildcats. Instead, Reid snags a grounder and gets the force tag at second base for the third and final out of the game. Ross “Shark Attack” Stiles gets the win as the Gladiators win hook, line and sinker over Whitney, 7-5, improving their district record to 2-2.
The Lady Gladiators, who were playing at a separate ballpark, got an inside the park homerun from freshman, Jaclynn Lewis, on a bobbled fly ball to centerfield, followed by an over-the-fence solo homerun by junior, Alyssa Richards, over the left field fence, to help Italy cruise to a 10-0 victory over the Lady Wildcats. The Lady Gladiators improve their district record to 4-1 under the guidance of head coach Jennifer Reeves and assistant coaches Tina Richards and Michael Chambers.
Clifton will make the trip to Italy on Tuesday, March 27, with the JV Gladiators starting things off at 4:30 p.m.