Whitko junior Zach Snep releases a pitch to the plate during Tuesday's game at Triton. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Whitko junior Zach Snep releases a pitch to the plate during Tuesday's game at Triton. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
BOURBON — Like the winds blowing in from the south, the Triton baseball team eventually settled down, but not fast enough to defeat Whitko.
Beginning their non-conference game at the height of Tuesday’s heavy winds in Bourbon, the Whitko Wildcats (9-4) jumped out to a 14-1 lead on the Triton Trojans (2-8), but had to hold on for a 14-13 win.
“I think it was tough on pitchers,” Whitko coach Erik Hisner said of the constant heavy winds, which had gusts over 40 miles per hour. “Early on, it was tough to get the ball across the plate. Then, for us in the middle innings and them in the early innings, it kind of, defensively, caused some havoc.”
Pitching directly into the wind, Triton junior pitcher Cordale Keyser struggled early, walking seven runners and hitting another two while allowing 10 runs in 1-2/3 innings.
“That wind was nasty, and it was right in their faces,” Triton coach Rodney Younis said. “I don’t fault (Keyser). It’s just one of those situations where you have to fight through and know you have to get it across any way you can and let your defense help you.”
Keyser gave way to junior Skyler Reichert with two outs in the top of the second, down 7-1 with the bases loaded.
In the tough spot, Reichert also had some trouble, giving up an RBI-single to Whitko senior Ethan Nicodemus and a walk to sophomore Tanner Gaff, before junior Zach Snep hit a three-run double, which was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of sophomore Garrett Smiley to increase the lead to 14-1.
However, after that rough start, Reichert retired the next seven batters he faced and only gave up five hits and shutting out the Wildcats the rest of the way.
“He was hitting his spots,” Younis said of Reichert. “When you hit you’re spots, you’re putting us in a good situation. Our defense helped out a lot. We fielded our positions well.”
While Reichert settled things down from the mound, the Trojan offense began to pick it up, scoring 12 runs in the next three innings, which was highlighted by a second-inning two-run homer from junior Jayden Hargrave that the wind helped push across the street from Ken Keller Field.
After pitching a no-hitter against LaVille the night before, Hargrave was 2 for 3 against Whitko with three RBIs, two stolen bases and the home run.
“Jayden’s a good player,” Younis said. “He’s very competitive. He wants to do so well. Sometimes, we have to control him a little bit, but for the most part, he’s been our solid leader. At the plate, he’s leading us in hits, and pitching, he’s got our two wins. He’s having a good year.”
Triton’s last four runs were scored on two errors in the fourth inning, but they would be its last, as Gaff replaced Snep on the mound with two outs in the inning and his team clinging to a 14-13 lead.
Gaff faced 11 batters in the final 3-1/3 innings, striking out five and allowing one hit, which led off the fifth, but was followed by three-straight strikeouts.
“We didn’t want to use him, but we felt like we had to win today,” Whitko coach Erik Hisner said. “He did a good job. He came in and slammed the door.”
Offensively, Snep was 2 for 3 with three RBIs, three runs, a double and stolen base, while Nicodemus, Gaff and senior Austin Sturgess each had two hits for the Wildcats.
“We got some good contributions from everybody,” Hisner said. “Even the guys that didn’t get a hit, they drew some walks, stole some bases and put the ball in play a little. Overall – 1 through 9 – pretty happy.”
Despite the nearly three-hour game, which included a slight delay due to high winds and rain, both coaches were relatively pleased with how their teams responded to adversity.
“The kids hung with it,” Hisner said. “We got back on the winning track after losing a couple.”
“We didn’t give up,” Younis said. “The kids could have easily folded up the tents and gone home. They didn’t. They kept fighting.”
Whitko opens Three Rivers Conference play today at Southwood, while Triton looks to build on its 1-2 Northern State Conference record at Jimtown.

WHITKO 14, TRITON 13
W    3(11)0    000    0    –    14    12    2
T    151    600    0    –    13    11    1
Whitko – Zach Snep (W, 3IP, 9R, 9ER, 8H, 3K, 3BB, 1HB, 1HR), Avery Robbins (4, 2/3IP, 4R, 0ER, 2H, 1K, 1HB), Tanner Gaff (4, 3-1/3IP, 0R, 1H, 5K, 0BB) and Seth Patrick.
Triton – Cordale Keyser (L, 1-2/3IP, 10R, 9ER, 4H, 7BB, 2HB), Skyler Reichert (2, 5-1/3IP, 4R, 4ER, 7H, 2K, 2BB, 1HR) and Grant Stichter.
2B – Snep (W), Austin Sturgess (W), Seth Flenar (T).
HR – Garrett Smiley (W), Jayden Hargrave (T).
Records: Whitko 9-4, Triton 2-8.