Little knowing his mom had a plate of birthday cupcakes waiting in the bleachers for afterwards, reaching base via an enemy's error wasn't the beginning Matthew Knickerbocker envisioned for his 2014.
The Wolverines played the 4A Farmington JV in their season-opener on Thursday, March 6.
"We've just been really focusing on our hitting, and obviously not so much on our fielding-just because we haven't been outside very much," said Knickerbocker. "I think we've been outside five days? And of those five we didn't get much practice just because of the conditions. We'll get better; I know we will for sure."
Even with little field time, BHS got off on the right foot with a 23-13 slugfest-style win.
"Yeah, offense wins games," laughed Kelton McCoy, while being handed the plastic miniature 'catcher' from a baseball cupcake. "But we definitely need to pick up on our defense; we had way too many errors. But that'll come the more we'll be on the field, you know?"
"You can't beat getting a win on your first day of coaching!" said first-year head coach Jon Qualls. "Kind of a big monkey off the back, getting that first win. So yeah, it was a good one."
Senior Trey Lange blasted a three-run homer right at the flagpole in deep left-center, and sophomore Zane Phelps went 5-for-5 with four runs scored, three doubles and two RBI to lead the attack.
"We came out trying to explode with our hitting," said Lange (2-4, BB, 3 R, 4 RBI). Jump on teams and.make sure we can close hitting, starting the game and ending the game throughout."
"We haven't been on the field much because it's been soaked in mud," he continued. "I think just getting it going, getting your teammates going is the key to do it."
Knickerbocker finished 2-5 and scored three times, and McCoy-the fourth core member returning from last year's state championship series team- went 2-4 with a walk and three ribbies. Leadoff hitter Taed Heydinger went 2-6, scored once and plated three, and Adam Ridens followed him going 2-3 with two walks, three runs and an RBI.
Bayfield (1-0, 0-0 Intermountain) broke the game open with an 8-run third against Nakai (L; 11 H, BB, 0 K), and finished what should have been a mercy-rule rout quite a while earlier with six in the seventh off his only reliever (3 IP, 10 R, 3 BB, 0 K).
Farmington (now 1-4 overall) mounted rallies in the fourth and fifth innings, but their second hurler, batting ninth, first struck out with bases loaded on a full-count fastball from Lange and then on a 1-2 fastball from Phelps his next time up with two aboard. Having started the game in centerfield, he'd also fanned against Knickerbocker with bases loaded and two away in the first.
With the Wolverines re-taking the lead for good while he was pitching, Lange (2 IP, 3 R, 2 BB, HB, 2 K) earned the win in relief, and Qualls was also able to utilize Phelps (IP, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K) and starting centerfielder Brody McGhehey (2 IP, 3 R, 2 BB, HB, 0 K) with the game going the distance.
BHS returns to Farmington for this weekend's Scorpion JV Invitational.
"We're just ready to take the next step," said Lange. "We want to finish out this season the best we can and see where it goes from there."