The battery of Wesley Jeffries-Babcock and Tanner Rubenstein combined to shut out invading Start and the offense was patient enough for a 10-0 victory in six innings Wednesday at Booster Field.
Jeffries-Babcock went the distance, blanking the Spartans on one hit and two walks, while striking out nine. The senior-to-be needed just 86 pitches to earn his second win of the summer.
“The biggest thing with Wes is attacking the strike zone with the fastball,” said Napoleon coach Craig Good. “Getting ahead with the fastball makes his slider and his other pitches more effective. He has also been able to get batters out, swinging at third strikes, with those pitches.
“This is two good outings in a row for Wes and that is exactly what we need him to do this summer,” added Good.
The Napoleon hurler was aided by his battery mate, Tanner Rubenstein, who threw out three base runners.
Rubenstein, who will be a sophomore, threw out runners attempting to steal second to end the third and fourth innings. In the fifth inning, after a double to start the inning, Rubenstein picked off the runner, who had stolen third base, to end that inning.
“He is an aggressive young kid, and you like to see that,” said Good. “I started him for the first time (at catcher) at Archbold and, to be honest, I haven’t seen a catcher get rid of the ball as quick as he does in a long time here.
“That first guy he threw out was on a curveball in the dirt that was outside,” added Good. “He threw him out by three steps.”
Tanner Rubenstein started the scoring for Napoleon with a RBI double in the second inning. It was one of only four hits for the Wildcats, who walked seven times and were hit by pitches another five times — four times in the fifth inning.
Napoleon also reached base on four errors and twice after the catcher dropped the third strike.
Good was pleased with the team’s patience at the plate.
“We are not going after balls out of the strike zone,” said Good. “We have done a much better job of that, and when we are hitting the ball, we are hitting it hard.”
Napoleon added a run on an error in the third and scored three runs in the fourth. TeeJay Moore had a RBI single and Jeffries-Babcock brought in a run with a bases-loaded walk.
In the four-run fifth, Moore had another RBI single, while Seth Muncy and Zach Rosebrook were both hit by pitches with the bases loaded and Jeffries-Babcock earned his second RBI with a walk.
Tanner Rubenstein’s sacrifice fly in the sixth drove in the game’s final run.
Napoleon is now 2-2 on the season. The Wildcats host Delta today.