Western Albemarle Pitching; Potent Offense Keep Warriors Undefeated
The Western Albemarle baseball team is undefeated this year at 12-0. In those 12 games the Warriors have outscored their opponents by a combined 159-18. The warriors are winning with a potent starting lineup and tremendous pitching.
Western Albemarle's pitching staff has an ERA of 0.47 led by senior ace Jack Maynard. Maynard is 6-0 this season with 41 strikeouts and only five walks.
Maynard says, "The fastball has kind of come on as of late, it wasn't so great for a while and I had to use my other stuff, my breaking ball has always been my go-to pitch and same thing with my breaking ball, I try to throw both for strikes and can get them off the plate when I need to."
Warrior pitchers are often working with a lead. Western Albemarle has six guys batting .400 or better. Junior Steve Mangrum leads the bunch with 22 hits and and a .550 batting average.
Mangrum says, "We've just been together for so long, multiple years, we just all know our role that's to go up there and get hit and the other person will help you out, its just good team chemistry."
The Warriors have a key group of seniors that have grown within the program.
Coach Skip Hudgins says, "We thought when they were freshman, we took some lumps when they were freshmen, within mind that when they left here we'd be handing out some lumps."
Hudgins is in his 32nd season as head coach.
He adds, "We thought that this was going to be a group that 1-9 there really weren't any soft spots. Your typical high school team that when you get past 4 or 5 the pitcher gets a little bit of a break but our group doesn't give you a break."
Maynard says, "Its awesome you go out and pitch the bottom of the 1st inning with a 4-0 lead that's crazy, our big hitters have all put it together."
The guys have set big goals.
Pitcher Sam Hearn says, "We're hoping to go undefeated that's something that's never been done at Western and hopefully make a run at a state championship".
Mangrum adds, "Undefeated and a state ring, that's all we want."
Coach Hudgins doesn't want to see his team get complacent.
"Its like that old Will Rogers line, if your sitting on the train tracks and you stop moving, even if you're on the right track.. You'll get run over, so we want to keep moving."
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Marty Hudtloff is the Sports Director at WVIR-TV. He joined the NBC29 sports team in October of 2003. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Bradley University. You can reach out to Marty via Email or Twitter.