MABEN – Small ball and good pitching was the name of the game for the East Webster High School baseball team Tuesday night.
The Wolverines beat Water Valley 2-1 at the East Webster baseball field.
East Webster entered the top of the seventh with a 2-1 lead, but found themselves facing a difficult mountain to climb.
With one out and a runner on third, head coach Wes Johnson of the Wolverines decided to pull senior starting pitcher Codie Silver and replace him with senior catcher Conner Burton. Burton struck out a batter and got a ground out to give the home team the win.
"I wanted to finish it but I know (Burton) has good stuff and way better than I've got," Silver said. "I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates. I will play wherever coach wants me, as long as I get to play. Playing baseball is all I want."
Johnson decided to pull Silver due to the fact that the Blue Devils had seen his stuff for several innings.
"They were into their fourth at-bat against Silver and I knew Burton had some velocity," Johnson said. "I knew they would have a tough time catching up with it. I knew if he threw strikes it would be hard on them."
Silver pitched 6 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts, three hits and allowed one unearned run.
"I can't say enough about (Silver)," Johnson said. "About 70 strikes and about 18 balls. He did a great job."
Silver takes it simple when he steps in between the foul lines and doesn't try and impress anybody.
"I don't have anything special," Silver said. "I just go out there and try to throw strikes. Just let the defense help me out, basically play baseball, throw strikes and get outs."
In the top of the fourth, the Blue Devils threatened to score when they got a leadoff double. Silver struck out the next two batters, and got a ground ball out to retire the side.
The bottom of the fourth inning proved to be good for the Wolverines. Dillon Henly led off the inning with a single and made his way to third base after a sacrifice bunt.
Johnson called for Burton to use a squeeze bunt and he laid it down to where the pitcher's only play was to first base. Henly came in standing up to give the Wolverines their first run.
"With these new bats, that's what everybody is doing," Johnson said of the squeeze bunt. "It gets back to the old pure form of baseball."
Water Valley struck in the top of the sixth inning and plated its only run of the ballgame.
The Wolverines returned the favor in the bottom of the inning. Codie Mckee reached when the shortstop made an error. He was moved around the bases on a sacrifice bunt. He scored on a pass ball.
"We didn't strike out much and we hit a lot of balls on the nose," Johnson said. "That was about as good a baseball game as you could ask for."
Coming into the night, Johnson was concerned about his defense, but those concerns were laid to rest.
"Very good, very good," Johnson said of his defense. "We haven't been playing good defense. (Tuesday night) we looked good in all three phases of the game."
The junior varsity squad got a 5-2 victory.
East Webster improved its record to 4-2 this season and will be back in action Friday when they travel to Eupora. Junior varsity will start at 4:30 p.m. and varsity set to begin 6:30 p.m.