Incline baseball: Highlanders roll in Reno’s Triple-A ballpark
The Incline and Whittell baseball teams played in style Tuesday — taking their hacks in the professional confines of Greater Nevada Field in downtown Reno.
“The kids loved it. It was a great atmosphere and a great experience,” said first-year Incline coach Billy Knight, whose youthful squad ran away with a 14-4 win in the nonleague affair. “We’re going to try to do it (play in Greater Nevada Field) every year now.”
Even better than playing in a Triple-A stadium — formerly known as Aces Ballpark — Knight said the Highlanders played a cleanly executed and fundamentally sound game, particularly on defense.
“They executed better than they have all season,” he said. “The key thing was that, when the ball was hit, we fielded it. It was a nice progression to see. They’re improving, and that’s all you want from these kids.”
Incline stumbled out of the gate but quickly made amends.
Freshman pitcher Trent Green started and ran into trouble in the top of the first, which resulted in a three-run inning by the Warriors. Incline’s offense picked up their starter, however, as the Highlanders answered with six runs in the bottom of the frame to take over the lead.
The Highlanders added two runs in the second and six more in the fourth, and the game ended after five on the 10-run mercy rule.
“It was good for their confidence,” Knight said of the resounding victory, which adjusted Incline’s overall record to 5-10-1. “They (the Warriors) couldn’t hold baserunners on, so we took advantage of that by running liberally and putting ourselves in scoring position.”
After the rocky first, Green settled in and held Whittell off the scoreboard the next 2 1/3 innings. He finished with three strikeouts while scattering seven hits and two walks.
When Green began to tire in the fourth, he handed the ball off to freshman reliever Dalton Fry, who inherited runners at first and second with one out. Fry immediately helped his cause by picking off the runner at second. He held Whittell to one run on one hit over the final 1 2/3 innings and recorded two strikeouts.
Fry also went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double, triple and three RBIs, while sophomore catcher Tristan Summers went 2-for-3 with an RBI, Alex Barnard was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, and Owen Graffis was 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Jacob Leoncio also contributed a hit and drove in a run.
The Highlanders will look to carry their momentum into their final two league series, starting this weekend with three games at West Wendover and ending with three at Battle Mountain. Knight said his team, which owns a 4-8 league record — and is the defending Division III state champion — is still in the running to make the playoffs.