Prep baseball: Coleman, early offense fuels W.F. West past Black Hills


Connor Coleman’s velocity on his fastball tinkered in the low 80s. His slider whipped around the backside of the plate in the high 70s.

W.F. West High School’s lefty had firm control of a Class 2A Evergreen Conference baseball tilt against Black Hills.

At one point tossing a no-hitter and striking out nine, Coleman got early run support and that was enough to help the Bearcats throttle the Wolves 11-1 in five innings on Thursday night on the campus of Centralia College.

“It was nice to see,” W.F. West head coach Jesse Elam said. “He’s been pounding the zone lately. He is up a little bit from last year, but that’s where he sits. He can reach back and get more if he needs it.”

Twelve days after losing their first game of the year, the Bearcats (8-1, 4-0 EvCo) have responded with four consecutive wins – all conference matchups – and have given up a combined three runs.

Plus, their offense has clicked recently, scoring double digit runs three straight games.

“They put in all the time and the work and the effort and they are right there,” Elam said.

Coleman gave up a one-out walk in the bottom of the first, then proceeded to retire the next nine batters in a row. Black Hills notched its first hit by Parker Termini in the fourth, but he stayed at first base.

The only trouble the southpaw got in came in the fifth.

Rain was pelting down and Coleman’s control went awry. He walked the bases loaded then gave up an RBI single off the bat of Truman Wimsett. Cole Ozretich came in and induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and preserve the run-rule win.

“We see too many pitches,” Wolves assistant head coach Mark Mounts said. “We’re swinging at everything early and then later on we’re patient, but the good thing is we’re up there with a purpose.”

W.F. West was aggressive early, plating four runs on three hits in the first. Braden Jones, Weston Potter, Coleman and Miles Martin had RBIs in the inning. Coleman delivered the blow in the second, roping a deep triple that brought in two of the four runs.

All of the tallies in the second came with two outs.

“Put as much pressure on the defense as we can to create that havoc,” Elam said. “Two out runs are huge.”

The Bearcats scored three more in the fourth to put the game out of reach. Jones and Martin each went 3-for-3 at the plate as none of their 26 at-bats taken featured a strikeout.

Black Hills (2-3, 0-2) had three errors and used three pitchers in the contest, only one going for two-plus innings on the mound. Mounts feels its group isn’t playing situational baseball well enough early in the season, but added it is fixable.

If the Wolves take the right approach.

“You can’t say it is youth, older guys or younger guys making mistakes,” Mounts said. “With these boys, from (Wednesday) to today, I feel like they try to make (situational baseball) matter. You got to commit and say ‘This matters to me and I’m going to make it happen.’”