Offense big part of Wildcats’ success this season

Jacob Dodson

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County’s offense has been at the top of its game most of the season.

The Wildcats are averaging eight runs per baseball contest and they are getting contributions from everyone in the lineup.

“We are going up there with a good approach – Wildcat baseball,” Warren County senior Jacob Dodson said after Thursday’s 10-0 win over crosstown rival Skyline. “We’re aggressive up there. We try to find that first pitch. If it’s there we’ll hit it- eventually, it will fall. If you keep putting the ball in play teams will make errors -put pressure on them. So that’s what we try to do. And it seems to be working so far.”

The Wildcats are off to a 12-3 start to the season and the offense has certainly been one key component. They have scored at least 10 runs in seven games.

As a team, Warren County is hitting .334 this season, led by Ronnie Dodson’s .439 batting average (18-for-41). Six different players have at least 10 RBIs and seven have scored at least 10 runs.

Warren County coach Michael Minch said that he’s been very pleased with the way the team’s approach at the plate.

“Our motto is applying pressure, putting the ball in play, being a tough out,” he said. “And if those things start happening those hits start falling. The kids go up there, they compete for us. And they go up there with a good approach, try to hunt the fastball as much as we can. And we tell them good things are going to happen if they can do those things.”

It took a little while for the Wildcats’ offense to get going in Thursday’s win over Skyline. The Wildcats led 3-0 before scoring seven in the top of the fourth to put the game, which only went five innings due to the mercy rule, out of reach.

Warren County sophomore Jackson Arnold hit a 2-run homer in the game, his first of the season. He said it really helps that the Wildcats have so many different players that can get hits.

“It’s that domino effect that everybody talks about,” Arnold said. “Somebody gets a hit and then we all get up in the dugout. And then we’re all just hitting the ball. It’s just constant hits.”

The Wildcats have also been getting some stellar pitching efforts as well. Jacob Dodson improved his record to a team-best 6-1 in the win over Skyline. He has a 1.25 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched.

He said that he mostly just relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

“I trust my defense, I pitch to contact,” he said. “If a team hits off me I’m not mad. I trust my defense to make plays. I’m not worried about strikeouts. Great pitchers pitch to contact, and that’s what I do. I throw strikes and compete and everything else will follow through.”

As a pitching staff, the Wildcats have a team ERA of 2.58. Minch said that they have confidence in their entire pitching staff.

“Nobody’s really going to overpower you with the fastball,” he said. “We just go up there throw strikes, trust the process, trust the pitches being called and fill it up. And trust the defense behind them. In high school baseball, I think that’s huge.”

The Wildcats started off 9-1 but then lost two games in a row. They have now won three contests in a row.

Jacob Dodson said they are playing good baseball again.

“The baseball season’s tough,” he said. “You get tired, you start playing lazy sometimes. And I think that’s what was going on. But we’re back, we’re playing baseball again. We’re back to playing Wildcat baseball.”