No-hitter bright spot for Whitacre
STEPHENS CITY — Adam Whitacre has endured some tough times this season, but last week the Sherando senior had a highlight that will last a lifetime.
Whitacre, who has been out of the lineup for a good chunk of the season due to injury, threw a no-hitter in a 4-2 victory on May 5. He struck out 10 and walked only one. Due to a bone bruise in his foot, he was only able to pitch in the game.
“We’ve been having a rough season, so I was just trying to help out the team,” Whitacre said. “I haven’t been playing much, so it was just good to get back out there. I think all of my pitches were working pretty well. I wasn’t trying to overpower them. I was just trying to hit my spots, and let my defense do work out there. They did a great job.”
Whitacre, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for May 4-10, first suffered the foot injury in a scrimmage at the start of the season.
He said he continued to try to play through it, which only made it worse. He missed a few games and then tried to come back on April 16 against James Wood. Whitacre started the game but re-injured his foot trying to field a bunt.
Sherando coach Pepper Martin said that Whitacre has never complained and has stayed upbeat throughout the difficult season.
“He’s tried to do anything that he could do to help the team,” Martin said. “He’s had to really amp up his leadership abilities with the team, and he’s been a positive, vocal leader for the players. He’s been their biggest fan and cheerleader, so to speak, as the season has continued. Whenever he gets the opportunity to help us, he does everything he can within his power to help the team out.”
Whitacre wasn’t been able to play in the field or bat when he first came back again a few weeks ago, but he could still pitch as he showed against the Colonels.
He said it’s been tough sitting on the bench and watching his teammates play.
“I’ve just been trying to motivate them,” Whitacre said. “I’m just trying to be like the energy guy on the bench. You get to see a different side of the game that you usually don’t see. It’s boring not being out there playing, but you just have to find a way to keep your head in the game.”
As a pitcher, Whitacre is 3-1 on the season with one of the top ERAs in the area (1.02). He has pitched 27.1 innings, and has 35 strikeouts. Whitacre gave a lot of credit to Sherando pitching coach Craig Bodenschatz.
“Coach B, he’s a great teacher. He’s been telling me what to do the past couple of years,” Whitacre said. “I just try to listen to him and just apply the things he’s been telling me to do. He just tells me to try not to overpower, just try to hit my spots and I’ll be effective. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do, and it’s been working.”
Whitacre knew he had the no-hitter going against the Colonels as he went out to pitch in the seventh. He said he just tried to focus on winning for the team, instead of thinking about the no-hitter.
Offensively, Whitacre is hitting .357 (10 for 28). He came back to the lineup as a DH on Monday in a doubleheader with Heritage. Martin said the Warriors miss Whitacre even more for his offense than his pitching.
“As a team we’ve struggled to score runs this season,” Martin said. “He was our No. 3 hitter, and we totally had to change our batting order around. As a result, we have struggled to score runs. He’s our best base runner, [and] that’s limited his base-running.”
Whitacre said he will play baseball for Radford University next year as a preferred walk-on, with a chance to gain a scholarship down the road. He said he chose Radford over Charleston Southern University.
“I just liked the environment there. The coaches were nice,” Whitacre said. “The coach was saying that their team is building up right now, because they haven’t been good in the past. But they’re starting to build up the program and that was really nice to hear.”
The Warriors are 8-10 on the season, but Whitacre said he still thinks the young squad can do really well in the postseason.
“I just think we have to keep building off the momentum and our bats have started to come alive over the past couple games,” Whitacre said. “I just think we need to keep hitting the ball, pitchers keep making pitches. Hopefully, we’ll just see what happens in the playoffs. Anything can happen in the playoffs. It’s just a matter of who’s hot and who’s not.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org