Baseball Wildcats aim for strong season

By: 
Theo Tate

Montgomery County junior Evan Abercrombie tosses a pitch in the first inning against Pacific in the season opener for both teams March 22.  THEO TATE PHOTO

After 664 days, the Montgomery County baseball team was excited to be back on the diamond this spring.

“It’s amazing,” MCHS coach Vince Wolk said. “We have a really young team. We’ve been in the gym for two weeks and we’re just happy to get on the field.”

The Wildcats also were happy they started their 2021 season in thrilling fashion. They knocked off the Pacific Indians 1-0 in 11 innings in a home game at MCHS, their first contest since May 28, 2019, when they lost to Saxony Lutheran in the Class 3 third-place game.

“Our pitchers pitched extremely well,” Wolk said. “We just had timely hits.”

Now, the Wildcats hope the victory over Pacific will give them a boost of confidence for the rest of the season. MCHS finished with a winning record for three consecutive seasons from 2017-19.

“We just want to bring a winning program consistently every year,” Wolk said.

The Wildcats’ 2020 season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The year before, MCHS finished 17-10 and placed fourth in Class 3, its highest state finish in program history.

“A lot of them didn’t have guys to look up to last year,” Wolk said. “We had a good group last year. It was the returning Final Four team that they could have learned a lot from, but they didn’t get that opportunity.”

The Wildcats have only two returning players from the 2019 team, juniors Evan Abercrombie and Ethan Rakers. 

Wolk said he was pleased with Abercrombie’s effort against Pacific. He struck out eight and gave up four hits before being relieved with one out in the top of the seventh and playing third base the rest of the game.

“Evan did extremely well,” Wolk said. “Evan came in and he was our clear cut No. 1. We knew that from our Final Four team because he had to pitch a little bit. He just keeps growing. He played a lot of summer ball.”

Among the other players on the team are senior Isaac Hartman, junior Lucas Pierson, sophomores Travis Hill and Harrison Bishop and freshmen Jace Ellis, Dayton Simmons and Mason Leu.

Bishop finished with two hits, including the game-winning, RBI single that scored Hill from second with one out in the bottom of the 11th.

Ellis came in relief for Abercrombie in the seventh and was the winning pitcher. He threw 69 pitches, struck out six and gave up only one hit.

“He’s going to be a key contributor this year on the mound,” Wolk said.

Wolk, who worked as an assistant under Don Moultrie for four years before taking over head coaching duties in 2019, said his team must improve on hitting in order to be successful. The Wildcats struck out 17 times and stranded eight runners on base.

“We have to play a lot of small ball,” Wolk said. “We have pretty good pitching, but we’re going to have to scrape up runs. We have to bunt well and have to do hit and run. We try to do a lot today. We’re very fast, so we’re going to have to use that to our advantage.”

 

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