The warm May rain couldn’t slow down Wapahani senior Jacob Walters. Neither could the Shenandoah baseball team.
Pitching through a rainstorm, Walters struck out 10 and confounded the Shenandoah lineup, leading his team to a 4-3 win in the Class 2A Frankton Sectional and a spot in Saturday’s semifinals. The Raiders will play Lapel, which beat Burris 7-1.
Despite Walters’ fine stat line, he felt like he could have played better.
“Not much was really working for me today, my curveball was OK,” Walters said. “We battled and we did just enough to win.”
All game, Shenandoah struggled to make decent contact at the plate as just seven batters sent balls out of the infield. When the first ball of the game was hit in play, a throw sailed past Wapahani’s Austin White, allowing Shenandoah’s Jarrett Vardaman to advance to third.
After singles by Aaron McCambridge and Brayden Crow opened the scoring, Wapahani’s Luke Snider dropped a ground ball, helping extend Shenandoah’s lead to 2-0 in the first.
Despite the mistakes by the infielders, Walters wasn’t rattled, and his opponent never scored again.
“He’ll change eye level on pitches, he’s up and down, he’s really effective,” Shenandoah coach Jack Lewis said. “The more he settles in, the tougher he is to get him off the hill. The longer he’s up there, the harder my job gets.”
Wapahani, which was elevated to No. 1 this week in the final Class 2A poll, responded to the 2-0 deficit immediately. Drew Brant and Snider both singled up the middle, and Brant scored on a wild pitch.
After White was hit by a pitch, Grant Thompson sent a fly ball to deep right field, scoring two runs and finishing with a slide into third. He would score on a passed ball, extending the Wapahani lead to 4-2.
“Coming back to take momentum was huge for us,” Wapahani coach Brian Dudley said. “Both teams settled in and we held on.”
With players on first and second base for Shenandoah in the third inning, Terick Warner hit a sharp line drive straight back at Walters. He nonchalantly raised his glove and snatched the ball, then quickly threw to first to finish the double play, drawing the loudest reaction from the crowd of the game. The double play allowed him to escape the inning without damage.