Wolverine baseball relies on hurdlers
Breaking out of the snow and ice is a slow but guaranteed process for the THS baseball team. The rest of the Northern 3A division, plus some 4A opponents, have been practicing in clear, green baseball fields since day one.
THS has been throwing the baseball around in the basketball gym, but that hasn’t deterred anyone, despite their 1-2 (3-6 overall) record.
“I’m pleased with the way things are looking,” coach Jason Estabrook said.
“We put our bats down in May and don’t pick them up again until December,” Estabrook said. “85 percent (of my players) are three-sport athletes, the coaches understand that they have to share.
“You have to be patient.”
The pitching staff is ready, though. Nick Smith, JR Murphy, Kevin Schlesinger and Jacob Bohart are going to lead the squad.
“I think those guys could have great seasons,” Estabrook said. “They’ve been working real hard.”
Seniors dominate the team: seven of the 13 varsity players are seniors, but Estabrook expects the five juniors and one sophomore to contribute.
“I’m really excited about my younger guys,” Estabrook said. “It’s a good mix, they work well together- this team has the potential to come together.”
One surprise has been sophomore standout Jimmy Williams.
“He’s a fierce competitor,” Estabrook said. “I like his attitude: Aggressive, hard worker.”
The pitching staff is being led by junior right-handed JR Murphy, a right handed pitcher that has 25 strikeouts in two losses in a couple of different pitching duels: He allowed only four earned runs and eight hits total in both games.
“He’s gained a lot of attention from college recruiters,” Estabrook said.
But three more solid pitchers in Smith, Schlesinger and Bohart, all four right-handed back him up. Senior Greg Gadsby is the only left-hander on the roster.
“I’m really four-deep, which is something I haven’t had before,” Estabrook said.
While pitching is a strong point for the team, the offensive side is still suffering from winter rust.
“We definitely have pitching,” said Daniel Galvin, second base. “But we need to start hitting the ball.”
Another problem for the team is Truckee’s weather, loved by many but non-conducive for baseball.
“”It’s somewhat of a disadvantage,” said Shane Wright, a junior outfielder. “We have to practice in the gym.”
“We’re hoping to make state with the pitching staff we have,” Wright said. “If we provide some good defense behind them, we’ll do it.”
Second baseman Daniel Galvin will be a little slower in the beginning of the season because of an ankle injury suffered in the tail end of his soccer season. He missed basketball, but is ready to for some diamond action.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “Once I got better, I got straight into baseball.”
Murphy also suffered an ankle injury in mid-January in a basketball game. He missed the rest of the season due to the sprain, but since pitching is his major concern, he isn’t demanding that much of it yet.
“It’s alright,” Murphy said of the ankle. “Running is a lot slower, but only when I get a hit.”
Oddly enough, he leads the team with four doubles.
One advantage for the team this year has been there at the helm for three years now: Coach Estabrook.
“We have the best coach in the league,” Murphy said. “He has us real disciplined. Our coach is so knowledgeable he can out-coach the other teams.
“Everybody looks up to him.”
In the Carson City High tournament March 6 and 7, they went down 2-3. They beat White Pine, 12-6, lost to Fernley, 2-5, beat Dayton, 10-2, lost to Fallon, 1-11 and Carson City, 0-2.
Since then, they have only picked up one more game in four tries.
They lost to Quincy, 1-15, split a double header with Spring Creek, 4-5 for the loss and then 12-8 for a W, and then, after giving up a grand slam in the first inning, their late-inning attacks were held off by Bishop Manogue for another loss, 2-8.
Centerfielder Kevin Schlesinger leads the team in batting with a .500 average after 14 at bats. Behind him is first baseman/pitcher JR Murphy at .292.
He also leads the pitchers with a 3.06 ERA, 12 hits, 16 IP, 71 batters faced and 34 strikeouts. He’s followed by Greg Gadsby: 5.09 ERA with 11 innings pitched and 62 batters faced. He has 10 strikeouts.
The pitching has only given up one homerun this season but has allowed 62 runs total while the bats have only produced 44.