Whitewater coach Rusty Bennett watches as Inman Elementary student Josh Lester throws the first pitch. (Photos by Michael Clifton / www.kombatkamera.com)

It was Military Appreciation Night at Whitewater High School and the host Wildcats put on a show against their region foe Riverdale on Thursday.

Wearing special military-inspired jerseys, the Wildcats were adorned with a ceremonial first pitch from Inman Elementary student Josh Lester. The pitch was right down the middle, and it set the tone for Whitewater to sweep Riverdale in a series-clinching doubleheader.

The Wildcats won game one 15-0 and took the nightcap 20-4 over the Raiders. They improved to 11-4 (15-8 overall) in Region 3-AAAAA play. Riverdale fell to 0-19 on the season.

“We got to play a lot of players tonight,” Wildcats head coach Rusty Bennett said. “Our starters got their at-bats, and we got to play a lot of young guys.”

The Wildcats got to work early against the Raiders. The offense was clicking as they outpaced Riverdale in both games. Several players contributed to the scoring outburst as the Wildcats batted around multiple times.

Chase Townsend rounds third and heads for home.

Senior Reid Kasten continued his hot streak as he connected on a majestic home run in game one. Fellow senior Jackson Jenkins also drove in three runs with an opposite field double.

In game two, the Wildcats put up 12 runs in the first inning as they brought 15 men to the plate. Grayson Samples and Chase Townsend were among the players that added an RBI single in the contest.

“At the end of the last two games, we had a lot of freshmen on the field,” Bennett said. “I thought everybody did good things tonight.”
The win represented a proud moment for the team as they were honored to play in front of military veterans. The veterans were celebrated in between games for their service and valor.

“It is phenomenal that those guys came out and we can’t think them enough for what they have done for our county,” Bennett said. “They have done a lot for us to have the freedom to be able to come out here and play this game without any worries. We send a big thank you out for what they do for us in serving this country.”

Whitewater has four games remaining in the regular season. They finish up with a series against Morrow and a non-region game against Alexander. Bennett hopes they can finish strong and achieve their goal of hosting a state playoff game.

“These guys know that if we win the series against Morrow, we will host in the first round,” Bennett said. “This is big for us as we want to play at home as much as we can.”