Big third innings are getting to be a habit for Wyoming East.
The AA No. 6 Warriors scored nine times in the third on the way to an 11-1, five-inning win over Westside to take the Region 3, Section 2 championship at New Richmond Thursday afternoon.
“It took us a little while to get going,” said WEHS coach Ron Mayhew.
East had an eight-run third in the first game of the sectional on Monday. Tuesday’s game was washed out by a pair of thunderstorms.
The teams were tied at 1-1 when the Warriors came to bat in the bottom of the third.
Austin Canada singled to start the inning, and Christian Hedinger doubled deep to center.
Josh Zeboskey walked to loaded the bases with none out.
Jonathan Culicerto was hit by a pitch to force in a run. Hunter Simmons walked, making it 3-1.
A walk to Tristan Toler pushed the lead to three.
Chase Presley drilled a 3-2 pitch hard to center to score two runs, and it was 6-1.
Canada doubled deep into the left field corner to bring in two more.
A Hedinger single to left also drove two in, and the lead was 10-1.
Casey Davis, the third Westside pitcher in the game, came in and retired two batters on two pitches.
Westside threatened in the fifth when Zack McCoy singled to center and. one out later, Breyer Morgan drew a walk.
Christian Hedinger got the next two batters out to end the inning.
Presley walked to open the East fifth and eventually scored on a hit by Michael Browning to end the game by run-rule.
It was the fourth straight sectional championship for Canada and Hedinger, who have been mainstays in the WEHS infield throughout their careers. Both have more than 100 hits in their careers.
“I’ll probably remember this one a little more since it’s the last one,” Hedinger commented.
“Our strength is we have each other’s backs,” Canada said. “If one person doesn’t make a play (on defense), someone else will step up and make it.”
“If we get our hitting and defense going at the same time, we can be tough to handle,” Mayhew said of his team’s tournament prospects.
Westside finished a 13-14.
“We did a lot better this year than I expected,” Renegades coach Jeremy Hedinger stated. “We went from four wins last year to a winning record in the regular season.”
He said his four seniors —Morgan, Drew Bragg, Jacob Meade and Davis—will be missed.
“Thee of them pitch for us, and Jacob Meade is very athletic in the outfield,” Hedinger said. “But we have some good players coming back and should get some help from the Oceana Middle School team.”
East (23-5) will host a regional semifinal on May 26. Mayhew says the Warriors will play several practice games before then.