The Whitesboro Bearcats baseball team employs a unique pitching rotation that has led to a wealth of success this season.
Instead of starting their best pitcher and bringing in a reliever when he got tired, the Bearcats use a primer pitcher for the first two innings and let their workhorse close out the game.
That strategy was on full display Tuesday, April 13, when the Bearcats hosted Valley View in a key district tilt and came out on top 9-3.
Jace Sanders started the game for Whitesboro and Mac Harper capped off the final five innings on the mound for the Bearcats. Harper finished with 10 strikeouts.
Whitesboro head coach Curt Cole said Harper was dominant.
“We’ve been starting with an opener and we want Mac to be fresh in the sixth and seventh innings instead of having to go to someone at the end,” Cole said. “Jace started out really good and then he kind of lost it with three straight walks. Mac did really good. He struck out two guys every inning, which makes it really tough on the opposing team. He mixes it up and makes it tough to hit.”
Cole said Whitesboro’s foundation of a team is pitching and defense. Tuesday was representative of that philosophy to an extent, but the nine runs were a welcomed sight for the Bearcats.
“We’re going to win a lot of 3-2, 2-1 type of ball games,” Cole said. “As a coach, I always think we could have done better, but we’ll take nine runs every time. If we get above five runs, we feel really good that we have a good chance of winning.”
Still, Cole said the goal moving forward will to be have cleaner play from top to bottom.
“It could have been better,” Cole said. “We’ve definitely had better outings. We’ve been flat the last two games and we need to start picking it back up. We had bases loaded three times. We’ve got to finish those. We’ve got to lock in and finish at-bats with people on base. We’re walking too many guys lately. We’ve made everyone earn it lately and we had too many errors, which has been uncommon for us.”
The win moves Whitesboro to 16-4 overall and 9-0 in district play. Whitesboro will travel to Valley View on Friday, April 16, to complete the two-game series.
Cole said he likes the two-game sets. The Bearcats’ depth at pitching gives them an advantage over most teams and doesn’t allow the opposition to throw its ace in both games.
Whitesboro has five more games left in the regular season and a crucial two-game series against Boyd.
Cole said it’s imperative the Bearcats play well Friday to head into the stretch with Boyd on a good note.
As for their future after the regular season, Cole said the hitting needs to keep improving and the walks need to be cut down.
“We definitely want to win the district,” Cole said. “To be a district champion, you have to take care of the first thing before you get to the finish line. We’re preparing for the first game before you look to the next week. We feel good. We feel like if we play good, we can beat anybody, but also we can be beaten by anybody. We’re going to feel confident and if the ball rolls our way, it’s going to be a good game.”