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Wildcat baseball starts season 1-0

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Baseball STOCK

By Clay Lilley

The Onalaska Wildcats kicked off their 2024 baseball season on the road against the Anahuac Panthers Monday night, surviving the Panthers 10-9 in extra innings.

Anahuac took the lead in the first inning, scoring three unearned runs off Onalaska starting pitcher, Jarrett Purkerson. Purkerson pitched well, allowing just two hits while striking out five. Both teams scored in the second inning, giving the Panthers a 4-1 advantage.

The Onalaska bats came alive in the fifth, scoring six runs off Anahuac’s starting pitcher. Thad Lilley produced two RBIs on a bases-loaded double and Alex Batiste drove in two more on a line drive to right field. 

Anahuac scored three more runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth inning to take a one-run lead, 8-7.

Batiste led off the top of the seventh inning in spectacular fashion, swatting his first home run of the season, a bomb high off the foul pole in left. Conner Ruiz added a clutch RBI-single, puting Onalaska up 9-8. 

In the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded, one out, and the game tied 9-9, the Wildcats turned a timely 5-2-3 double play to send the game into extra innings.

In the top of the eighth with two outs and Wyatt Reyes in scoring position, Onalaska senior, Lucas Jackson stepped up with the game-winning RBI on a single to left-center, putting the Wildcats ahead by a run. 

Lilley, Onalaska’s closer, finished the game on the mound, securing the 10-9 win. Head coach Cody Pinkert was happy with team.  

“They came together as a group and competed their tails off to get an early win against a solid Anahuac team,” Pinkert said. 

Some of the top performances of the game invluded Batiste going 2-4 with a homer , two runs, and three RBIs. Patrick Roth pitched three innings with four strikeouts and one walk in his first high school game. Reyes reached base on four walks and scored two runs. Purkerson pitched three innings with no earned runs, five strikeouts and two hits.

The next Wildcat game will be a tough matchup against last year’s regional semifinalists, Tuesday at the Diboll Lumberjacks. 

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