NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Every team knows entering the playoffs that they’ll most likely see their opponent’s best pitcher. Kane’s star man Carson Whiteman put together a performance to remember as he threw a complete-game 18 strikeout shutout, powering Kane past the third-seeded Bulldogs 7-0 on Tuesday afternoon at Alcoa Park in Hawthorn.
(Photo: Hudson Martz holds on an eager Kane baserunner)
“I think between (Whiteman) and Jace Minor of Brookville those are probably the top two pitchers I’ve seen in our District,” said Redbank Valley head coach Craig Hibell. “We ran into a buzzsaw today, but our guys worked hard and did the best that they could. We had a few too many walks and a few errors in the field, which when you are facing a pitcher of his caliber, you have to limit the damage to give yourself a chance.”
Redbank Valley had their best scoring chance in the bottom of the first inning, as Hudson Martz doubled to left field. Bryson Bain then singled to right field, but Hibell held Martz at third. Bain stole second, but a pair of strikeouts ended the inning.
“I didn’t think we really had a chance to score there,” said Hibell, speaking on his decision to hold Martz at third. “[Kane] fielded the ball cleanly in the outfield. We had our cleanup hitter coming up with one out. When you face a guy who throws as hard as he does, it can kill a rally pretty quickly.”
Martz and Kobe Bonanno were the only other Bulldogs to reach base prior to the seventh. Martz singled after two outs in the third but was stranded at second, while Bonanno reached on an error to lead off the fourth, but three strikeouts ended the inning. Bonanno doubled in the sixth, but a strikeout ended that threat as well. In the bottom of the seventh, Owen Clouse struck out but reached on an error after two outs. He stole second but was ultimately cut down at the plate after an errant cutoff throw on a Richie Leasure single, ending the game.
Meanwhile, Kane would score four times in the top of the third inning. Curtis Barner led off with a home run over the right-field fence. After a strikeout, Harley Morris reached on an error. Andrew Jekielek walked. Whiteman then singled home Morris, with Jekielek also scoring on the play after the ball snuck past the centerfielder. Whiteman ended up at third after the play. Justin Peterson then hit a sacrifice fly to score Whiteman. Kane ended up leaving the bases loaded in the inning, but they still had a 4-0 lead after three.
In the fourth inning for Kane, Jacob Costanzo walked and reached second on an errant pickoff attempt. Morris reached on a bunt single, but Costanzo had to hold at second on the play. Jekielik singled to load the bases. Whiteman then hit a sacrifice fly to score Costanzo. A double play ended the inning, leaving the score 5-0 after four.
Kane’s scored two runs in the top of the seventh, as a pair of bases-loaded walks increased Kane’s lead to 7-0.
Whiteman went the distance, allowing no runs on five hits. He didn’t walk a batter while striking out 18.
Bryson Bain took the loss allowing four runs, one earned in 2 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three. Hudson Martz pitched the final 4 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits. He walked five and struck out seven.
Martz finished 2-for-3 with a double for Redbank, while Bain, Bonanno, and Leasure each added one hit. Bonanno hit a double.
Whiteman and Peterson each had two hits for Kane. Morris Jekielek, Reese Novosel, and Barner each had one hit. Whiteman and Novosel each had doubles. Whiteman drove in a pair of runs. Seven different players scored a run for the Wolves.
“Overall, we had a pretty good regular season,” said Hibell. “We finished 14-5 including today, which was the most wins [we’ve had] since I’ve been coaching. We won a lot of baseball games, had a lot of fun, and made a lot of memories. Although today leaves a sour taste in our mouths, this group of seniors have a lot of unique personalities, which I don’t think I’ll ever have again. They all blended together and made things a lot of fun and I wish them all well.”