WATERFORD - A good start to a season is always a confidence booster.
Right now, the Waterford baseball team owns a 6-5 overall record and are 3-4 in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division. Going into last Friday's doubleheader makeup against visiting Wahama, the Wildcats were 6-1.
"It's been many, many moons since we've gotten off to a start like this," said Wildcat skipper Chad Augenstein. "Since I've been the head coach, that's the most baseball wins I've been a part of."
JEFF BAUGHAN Special to The Times
Waterford ace Devyn Farley delivers a pitch to a Belpre batter in a game last week.
Even though the Cats got swept by the Falcons, it was a good, early season test for them. The green and white nine were no-hit by Garrett Miller 8-0 in the opener but only suffered a 3-1 setback in the nitecap. Waterford fell 6-5 in eight innings at Miller Tuesday and lost 9-8 to Federal Hocking Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Now, the Wildcats are looking forward to hosting arch-rival Fort Frye in a non-conference game at 5 p.m. today. Righty Isaac Huffman is expected to get the nod on the hill for the green and white.
The Cadets, too, are off to a good start with an 14-1 record, and they're eager to play the Cats.
"They're having a great season," said Fort Frye head baseball coach Sonny Bidwell of Waterford. "Their players and coaches all work hard, and they're very competitive."
The Wildcats are also very young with only two seniors on the roster.
"Yes, we're a young ballclub," Augenstein said, "but this group is determined. They work hard and want to win."
If pitching is the name of the game, then Waterford has a couple of good ones in sophomore Devyn Farley and freshman Clay Hayes.
"They're my one-two punch," Augenstein said, "and they throw strikes."
Before Wahama, the duo was a combined 5-0 on the hill with 39 strikeouts and 10 walks.
The Wildcat staff also includes Cameron Bosner, Brent Ginther, Jordan Welch, Cody Malac, and Montana Brooker, who has the team's only save. Even Huffman, the starting catcher, has thrown, pitching a fine game in the nitecap against the Falcons.
Huffman is one of the Cats' top sticks with a .476 batting average. During the first seven games, he had three doubles and eight runs batted in.
Mitch Ginther (center field) was batting .421 with two doubles and six RBIs.
Welch (right field) was hitting .625, but he's only been at bat eight times.
Cody Paxton (LF, .333) leads the club in ribbies with 12, and Cameron Bosner (3B, .333) and Brent Ginther (2B, .318) have eight and seven, respectively. Hayes (SS, C) had the team's lone home run so far this spring.
Daulton Shriver is the first baseman
"We've had some good timely hitting, and we've been able to move baserunners," Augenstein said. "We've also been playing good, solid defense."
"We're just taking it game by game, inning by inning," he said. "We want to get better and make the community proud of us."