With a sophomore pitcher on the mound and the chance for a series sweep of Bartlett, Waubonsie Valley took quick advantage of one of the first good hitting afternoons of the year Thursday.
The Warriors jumped out with six runs in the top of the first to set the tone for a 13-5 Upstate Eight Valley win, which completed a three-game sweep of the Hawks and kept the Warriors three games up on Metea Valley in the UEC Valley standings with nine games left to play.
“We wasted no time,” Waubonsie coach Dan Fezzuoglio said. “We knew we had to be aggressive after the two long games going in our direction (to start the series). In order to achieve our goals, we had to get this one. Once again, we played well on the road.”
Waubonsie (17-4, 13-2) saw the gale blowing out to left to start the game and took advantage. Eight of the first nine hitters reached, chasing Bartlett starter Alex Curtis after only one-third of an inning. Luke Marzano led off with a single and Ben Vietri followed with a two-run homer to open the scoring.
Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Garret Howicz cracked a two-run single. It was 6-0 before Waubonsie sophomore Brandon Peterson could even take the hill.
“That was nice to see,” Marzano said. “Brandon has pitched very well for us. We wanted to get some runs to take the pressure off of him. We got ourselves a big lead and never looked back.”
Peterson kept the Hawks (8-14, 7-12) off the board until the bottom of the fourth, when the Warriors already held a 10-0 lead. Only two of the five runs Peterson allowed were earned. He struck out seven, walked one and scattered nine hits in the complete-game effort.
“He was really hitting his spots with his fastball, inside and out, we were mixing it up,” said Marzano, Peterson’s catcher. “He kept getting them out front of his curveball. They were up there guessing a little bit. Credit to him, he made a lot of great pitches.”
Howicz, Marzano and Vietri each had three hits for Waubonsie, with Vietri driving in four runs. Jake Barrutia led Bartlett, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs.
“We’ve had some adversity,” Bartlett coach Chris Pemberton said. “But for the most part, our kids have been pretty resilient. They could have packed it in. We scored a few runs late. They kept going, so I give our guys credit for that.”
Waubonsie now has prom on Friday followed by a doubleheader Saturday against rival Neuqua Valley.
“We knew we had to get this one,” Marzano said. “We can’t look forward to Neuqua Saturday, our big rival. But we got this one, now we’re excited to play them.”