Wapahani, Wes-Del advance to second round of Delaware County Tournament

Wapahani senior Daxton Dudley watches Daleville starting pitcher junior Meryck Adams from the on-deck circle during first round of Delaware County Tournament at Yorktown High School. Zach Carter, DN
Wapahani senior Daxton Dudley watches Daleville starting pitcher junior Meryck Adams from the on-deck circle during first round of Delaware County Tournament at Yorktown High School. Zach Carter, DN

The 2023 Delaware County Tournament started with some stellar performances that included a no-hitter from Wapahani’s starting pitcher senior Gavin Lash and a defensive shutout by Wes-Del. Both teams will move on to Saturday’s second round. 

Game One - Wapahani vs. Daleville

The tournament opened up with the Raiders (12-8-1, 3-3 Mid-Eastern) defeating the Broncos 3-0. The first scores came in the first inning when the Broncos gave up multiple fielding errors. 

But besides one more run, the rest of the contest was a duel between the opposing pitchers. In the loss, Broncos’ starting pitcher junior Meryck Adams finished allowing five hits and three runs. He also had 10 strikeouts. 

The main storyline of the game was Lash as he finished the game throwing a no-hitter that included 13 strikeouts. It was also Wapahani’s first no-no of the season. 

That was awesome,” Wapahani head coach Brian Dudley said. “He is 8-3-1, and it says a lot when you get your best stuff at this point in time.”

Daleville starting pitcher junior Meryck Adams winds up during first round of Delaware County Tournament at Yorktown High School. Zach Carter, DN

But to Lash, this game was a bit personal due to the Broncos (8-8, 3-3 Mid-Eastern) defeating the Raiders earlier in the season. 

“We were still finding things out and [Daleville] acted like they won the World Series,” Lash said. “So we were just ready for them. We wanted to beat them and that's what we did.”

It was apparent early in the game that Lash was feeling well as he struck out the first three batters he faced. He would continue that momentum throughout the rest of the victory. 

“Going into the last inning, I was like, they haven't touched me all game, and I knew it,” Lash said.” “No one said anything [about the no-hitter] to me, so I just stuck with it.”

With the win, the Raiders will face the hometown Yorktown Tigers (16-4, 10-2 Hoosier-Heritage) on Saturday at 10 am. Lash isn’t concerned with the home-field advantage factor. 

“We just got to come out like we did today, but hit the ball more and be ready because they're a good team,” he said. “We gotta be ready and we will be.”

Daleville starting pitcher junior Meryck Adams winds up during first round of Delaware County Tournament at Yorktown High School. Zach Carter, DN

Game Two - Wes-Del vs. Cowan

Similar to the first game, the Warriors used great defense to defeat the Blackhawks 8-0. 

“We take a lot of pride in our pitching and defense being a staple,” head coach Daniel Hanson said. “We talk a lot about our lineup. We feel like it has firepower up and down it. We can strike at any given point and I don't feel like there's a weakness.”

But it was not just defense. On the offensive side, Wes-Del (14-5, 5-1 Mid-Eastern) had eight hits to their opponents' four. Unlike the Warriors, Cowan (10-9, 4-2 Mid-Eastern) could not move base runners and that became an apparent issue. A big reason for that was Wes-Del starting pitcher senior Travis Bunch. 

“We try to work ahead and try to mix [pitches] up,” Hanson said. “Travis [Bunch] has been great for us all year… I thought tonight he really set the tone both ways.”

As Hanson said, Bunch helped the Warriors on both sides. On the mound, he finished with eleven strikeouts and gave up four hits. At the plate, he went two-for-four and drove in four RBIs. Two of those included his two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning. 

“It feels good to be able to produce on offense and defense,” Bunch said.

Wes-Del senior Dawson Bookout takes a knee while a Cowan batter is being checked after getting hit in the face area during first round of Delaware County Tournament at Yorktown High School. Zach Carter, DN

The Warriors have the second-best record in the tournament. But to Hanson, that doesn’t add any pressure on the squad.

“Our mindset is continuing to get better,” he said. “We know there's a lot of good baseball left. We got a game Thursday against a non-conference opponent that will be an opportunity to get better. So you know, we're not focused on records and whatnot. We're just focused on trying to get better each day and let the chips fall where they fall.”

The Warriors will face the Delta Eagles (7-13, 1-11 Hoosier-Heritage) on Saturday at 12:30 pm. 

Contact Zach Carter with comments at zachary.carter@bsu.edu or on Twitter @ZachCarter85.

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