So far, the Highlanders have relied on out-slugging their opposition. And so far, it’s worked.
The Incline baseball team has compiled a 7-2 record through nine games (6-0 in league) while averaging 14.5 runs and allowing 10.2.
“Hitting has definitely been our strong point early on,” said Incline coach Jeff Clouthier. “Our pitching is starting to come around and we’ve been struggling on defense. But we’ve been able to outscore most teams.”
Incline’s offense has lit up nearly every opposing pitcher. The team is batting .414 collectively, with three players hitting over .500.
Junior pitcher and first baseman Tommy Dolan is batting a team-high .613 with two home runs, six doubles and 19 RBIs, junior catcher and pitcher Tommy Thompson is hitting .583 with a home run, two triples, eight doubles and a team-high 28 RBIs, and junior shortstop and pitcher Jack Clouthier is hitting .517 with four home runs and 11 RBIs.
Junior Ben Snyder, who’s been designated hitter as he struggles with arm soreness, has posted a .429 average with 16 RBIs, while senior center fielder Masxsimo Battell is hitting .432 and junior infielder Nicky Witty .471 with 13 RBIs.
Jack Clouthier leads off the order, Battel is second, Thompson third and Dolan cleanup. They are followed by Snyder in the fifth slot, Witty, Owen Graffis, Kenny Savelieff and either Bryan Banuelos, Conor Nix or Chris Rehberger.
Others on the roster, which includes three seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen, are Owen Price, Daniel Luksch, Alex Barnard, Jason Guth, James Larson and Adam Swick.
Incline’s 6-0 record in the Northern Division III is the result of three doubleheader sweeps against the lower rung of the league — West Wendover, White Pine and Silver Stage.
It’s a good start, but coach Clouthier knows the Highlanders will need to shore up their defense and get more quality innings out of their entire pitching staff — beyond starters Dolan and Clouthier — if they want to earn one of four regional playoff seeds.
He figures there will be five teams battling for four spots — Incline (6-0), Battle Mountain (6-0), North Tahoe (5-1), Yerington (3-3) and Pershing County (4-2).
Incline is scheduled to play a doubleheader at Yerington on Saturday. The Highlanders will host North Tahoe on April 19.