Liberty baseball cruises to season finale win
Tomas Kassahun/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Quaid Copher throws a pitch during Thursday’s 12-1 victory over the Caruthers Blue Raiders. Copher is expected to start today’s playoff opener against Dos Palos.
The Liberty Hawks baseball team got off to a fast start in a home game against Caruthers and never looked back, taking the win, 12-1.
The Hawks, who were tied 1-1 after the first inning, broke the game open with five runs in the second and added four more in the following inning to put the game away quickly.
Liberty’s explosive second inning started when sophomore pitcher Dylan Whiteman walked. Sophomore Max Nulick followed with a double and advanced Whiteman, who scored when Caruthers threw a wild pitch. Another wild pitch allowed Nulick to score. Senior Quaid Copher continued the momentum when he drove in Jared Nolte. Freshman McGuire Smith drove in two more runs before the inning came to an end.
With Whiteman on the mound, the Blue Raiders failed to score in the third inning, keeping the score at 6-1.
“We just showed up the right way today,” Liberty coach Derick Kuhn said. “Dylan gave us a chance. When our starting pitcher gives us a chance, we’re pretty good.”
The Hawks picked up where they left off in their next at-bat. Nulick drove in Nathen Medina to keep Liberty scorching. Nolte then tallied two more RBIs for the Hawks. The lead grew to 10-1 when junior Jakson Bucher drove in Nolte.
After Caruthers came up empty again, the Hawks added another run in the fourth inning to make it
11-1. With Copher pitching for the Hawks in the fifth, the Blue Raiders continued to struggle. Copher also scored the last run of the game in the fifth inning.
Freshman Hudson Groh pitched in the seventh to officially clinch the win for Liberty. With playoffs now set to begin, the Hawks feel good about their chances.
“There is no Div. 4 team that has been battle-tested like us, playing Clovis schools, playing schools that are Div. 2,” Kuhn said. “I feel like we’re gonna be ready to roll. We’ve seen the best of the best this year.”