By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress-Times
If you’re looking for a star on the East Webster baseball team, it’s pretty easy to find one. Just take a pen and circle any name on the EWHS starting line-up.
“Everybody has been doing their part,” said East webster had coach Wes Johnson of his Wolverines, who are set to begin a three-game series with Mantachie in the third-round of the MHSAA Class 2A State Baseball Playoffs on Friday. “It hasn’t been just one person. We have had several guys play a big part in our success.”
The Wolverines have also learned a little bit about facing challenges and overcoming adversity.
“We have just done a good job of taking advantage of what is given to us,” Johnson said. “I think our kids have really gotten better in their mental approach over the last three weeks. They have a much better idea of what they are trying to do when they are at the plate.”
East Webster plays host to Mantachie at 6 p.m. on Friday, before visiting the Mustangs at 2 p.m. on Saturday. A third game, if necessary, is set for East Webster on Monday. The winner of the East Webster-Mantachie series is set to take on the winner of the Eupora-Baldwyn series for the 2A North State Championship next weekend.
After splitting the first two games against East Union, the Wolverines used a big five-run fifth inning to take an 8-3 home win on Saturday. Cody Boland was strong on the mound for East Webster, holding the Urchins at bay over the last four innings as they threatened to mount a comeback.
“Our pitching has been pretty solid for us all year,” Johnson said. “Going into the next series we hope to stay with what we have been doing.”
Derek Jones, Brock Flemings and Boland are the expected starters on the mound for East Webster if the series with Mantachie goes the full three games.
“Chase Keller has been getting some big hits for us lately, and Jack Wilson has made some great plays defensively” Johnson said. “Everybody is just doing what they are supposed to be doing.”
East Webster opened the series on Thursday with a 10-0 win in a game that was tight until the late going.
“They threw their best pitcher against us and he was tough,” Johnson said. “We just got him frustrated and broke it open late on him.”
EW scored two runs in the first inning and one in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead before hitting for a four-spot in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth to win by the run rule.
“I think maybe we were a little overconfident going into the second game,” Johnson said. “We had just beaten their best guy. We told them the series wasn’t over.”
East Union scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open a 4-3 game and went on to take an 8-4 victory, forcing the deciding game three.
Johnson said his team is not going into the series against Mantachie with any special strategy, just one centralized focus.
“We are going to do everything we can to win every game we play,” he said. “We will do what we have to do and pitch who we have to pitch to win the game we are playing that day.”