The Henry County baseball team started the 2010 season losing four of its first five games and eight of its first 10. Lately, things have changed inside the Henry dugout.
After that first 10-game stretch, the Wildcats have won seven of nine, including three straight last week that continues to point the Cats in the right direction and at the right time.
They are just one game away from .500 with a 9-10 overall record — something that seemed far fetched in mid-April when the Cats were struggling to get in the win column.
Henry beat Gallatin County (10-2) last Tuesday night, Williamstown (12-0) on Thursday and Evangel Christian (14-0) on Friday to build momentum with the postseason just three weeks away.
“Our players are starting to get it a little more now,” Henry coach Austin Hunsaker said. “They have definitely improved as the season went on. They’re understanding the importance of doing the little things to put it all together. There’s so much more that goes into it than just showing up and playing a baseball game, and they know that now.”
At Gallatin County last Tuesday, which sparked the current win streak, the game was tight in the early innings before the Wildcats started to pull away. The big difference for the Cats was their productivity at the plate with few strikeouts, well-positioned bunts and smart base running. They also got seven solid innings from Ben Schroeder, who composed himself to work out of a couple of jams and held Gallatin to just two runs.
“It was big for us to put the ball in play,” Hunsaker said. “That’s what we have to do. Really, it was a good team effort.”
At Williamstown two nights later, Brandon Knight threw his second straight complete game shutout, and the visiting Wildcats won 12-0 in five innings. Henry pitched well, hit well and played well defensively in what Hunsaker describes as possibly the most complete game his team has played all season. Trent Lucas was 3-of-3 at the plate, and Henry also got big hits from Schroeder, Zach Rahm, Dylan Ouellette and Jared Payton.
“Everybody on our team contributed in some way,” Hunsaker said. “Overall, it was one of our better games.”
The Wildcats closed out the week the following night with a 14-0 win over Evangel Christian in five innings in what was also Henry’s Senior Night — Henry has one more home game during the regular season but Hunsaker said he always schedules Senior Night early in case of a cancellation. Rahm and Randy Moore were honored — both started and got big hits — and the host Cats came away with an easy win.
Lucas threw a perfect game and Henry had no errors. Rahm caught and hit a triple, while Moore started at right field and had an RBI.
“It was a game that we came in and did what we needed to do,” Hunsaker said. “We kept right on rolling, and as a coach that’s what you want to see.”
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