When the Muenster Hornets begin their three-game series against Windthorst in the Class 2A regional quarterfinal round, they’ll do so knowing that defeating the Trojans won’t be easy.
Not only have the Trojans piled up 42 runs in four playoff games already, but they gave Muenster one of its only losses on the season.
Windthorst downed the Hornets 6-0 on March 7 despite Muenster’s pitching staff only surrendering one earned run in the game.
Muenster head coach Josh Wheeler has a lot of respect for the Trojans.
“They’re just as good as we are,” Wheeler said. “Offensively, we probably hit a little better. Our arms are probably more powerful. But you know, I’ve got a few kids that can really throw the ball and they throw a lot of strikes. Their pitcher Hunter Wolf just kills the strike zone. He didn’t throw that hard, but he’s a really good pitcher.”
Wolf is 9-1 this season with a 1.61 ERA with seven complete games in 11 appearances. Wolf has walked just eight batters this season while striking out 53.
Nathan Bales is leading the team with a .451 batting average with 23 RBIs while Sam McQueery is hitting .418 with 26 RBIs.
While Wolf will be a wall to bust through, Wheeler feels as if he has a deeper pitching staff than the Trojans.
“I’m confident because we’re so deep in arms in my opinion, more than probably most people and that’s beneficial for us,” Wheeler said. “I’ve always said, I feel like the best team comes out of the series. If they beat us twice, you know, hats off to them.”
Wheeler stressed to his team the need to play clean baseball and he said he expects Windthorst to test the Hornets’ defense.
“I think they put a lot of pressure on you when they get base runners on,” Wheeler said. “So you know, they’re going to steal a lot. They’re going to put pressure on you in the run game. We’ve got to execute that defensively. They kind of put you in a situation where you have to make good throws. I think pressure-wise, this is the toughest team we have played against with the way they play. So they’re going to steal bases. If they get thrown out, they’re gonna keep stealing bases.”
Despite the impending challenge of Windthorst, Wheeler said his team isn’t stressed.
“They have a lot of tradition there, but sometimes I think our kids are too young to be nervous right now,” Wheeler said. “I think they’ll be ready to play.”
Game 1 is at 4 p.m. Friday, May 17, in Bowie with Game 2 to follow 30 minutes after. If necessary, Game 3 will be a noon Saturday, May 18.
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip