The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Wildcats bounce back by annihilating Blazers

Watch as freshman Franklin Zerpa hits a grand slam to give the Wildcats an 11-0 lead over Blair HS. (Courtesy WJ Baseball via X)

Following their first loss of the season to the Churchill Bulldogs (4-4), the Wildcats (7-1) dominated the Blair Blazers (3-4) 18-2 in a five-inning victory on Saturday, April 13. The game was defined by an 11-run explosion in the fourth inning as well as four scoreless innings from junior pitcher Nolan Ross. Ross struck out seven hitters deploying a mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Wildcats began by batting through the order without getting out one time. Freshman third baseman Franklin Zerpa, the fourth batter of the inning, came to the plate with the bases loaded and having been 0-2 so far on the day, he was due for a hit. Behind in the count at zero balls and two strikes, Zerpa fouled off a couple of pitches before connecting to left-center field for the grand slam.

“That was a pretty good hit. I was waiting for the fastball. He threw me [one] and I just hit it,” Zerpa said.

At that point, the Wildcats led 11-0 and the Blazers made their first pitching change of the inning replacing junior Desmond Llanes with sophomore Rob Sharp. Sharp’s first batter, junior outfielder Ethan Hsu, did exactly what Zerpa had done before him, hammering the ball to left field for another home run.

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“Coach said he was going to pull me and put Shaun [Rudick] in. I shook him off and said, ‘I want to hit a bomb too,’” Hsu said.

By the bottom of the fourth inning, most of the Wildcats starting lineup and defense had been replaced.

Junior outfielder Brady Chan led the team in hits on the day recording two doubles and a single driving in a run in the process.

“We weren’t too happy about that game [against Churchill]. Today was a big bounce-back game and we [wanted to] make a statement. [On Friday], we just locked in, focused again and [then] put up big-time runs,” Chan said.

Of the four innings WJ hit, three of them resulted in multiple runs giving Ross time to rest between innings.

“The team performed great and scored a bunch of runs. They gave me insurance to make sure I could go out there and take a couple risks. It’s good to have runs behind you,” Ross said.

Rudick allowed two runs in the top of the fifth inning, but it was too little, too late for the Blazers as the MPSSAA mercy rule took effect.

The Wildcats also had a five-run second inning and a two-run third inning as they recorded 17 hits as a team on the day.

The Wildcats will travel to play the Blazers again on Monday, April 15. The game had previously been scheduled for April 3, but was postponed due to rain. On Tuesday, April 16, the Cats will face the top-ranked Whitman Vikings (7-0) at 3:45 p.m. at Whitman. WJ is looking to avenge their loss to the Vikings from last year’s regional championship. The Pitch will be live audio broadcasting the game at wjpitch.mixlr.com

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Joshua Singer
Joshua Singer, Print Editor-in-Chief
Joshua Singer is a junior and is ecstatic to be a Print Editor-in-Chief in his second full year on The Pitch. In his free time, Josh enjoys running, playing guitar and announcing sports.
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