By Dennis Glade Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — With the summer season now completed, the Washington Freedom is ready to start the sectional Friday at Terre Haute.
The Freedom (5-16) face Clinton Friday at 7 p.m. at Terre Haute North High School. Host Terre Haute Wayne Newton plays Sullivan at 7 p.m. tonight in the tournament’s first round.
Washington won its final home game of the summer July 10 over Sullivan and then ended the season with five straight road games, which resulted in five straight losses. Washington coach Jeff Truelove said the grind of the final road schedule seemed to wear on his team. Including the win over Sullivan, the Freedom have played six games in the last seven days.
“The kids really love the grind, they eat it up, but it thins them out pretty quick with the heat,” Truelove said. “We are resting some people in order to get some of our subs some work, because we know we’re going to need everyone to get through the tournament this weekend.”
With that being said, Washington has two days off before Friday’s matchup with Clinton. The fatigue from running through the gauntlet during the past 10 days have been replaced by excitement for the opportunity to win a sectional.
“Everyone is excited for Friday,” Truelove said. “I’ll have Brayden (Walls) back on the mound after he dealt with a shoulder tweak he suffered during the (IHSBCA) All-Star Game. I should have my best team on the field Friday.”
Truelove’s best team on the field will be led by Walls, who starred for the Washington Hatchets this season with an 8-2 record with a 1.61 ERA - he allowed 40 hits in 66 1-3 innings, while striking out 116 and walking only 23.
“As long as Brayden is OK, he’ll be the starter Friday,” Truelove said. “On Saturday we’ll come back with Trevor Claridge and we’ll start (Bailey) White against probably Sullivan in that 8 p.m. game Saturday. If we win that it should catapult us to the championship game. We just have to get Clinton that first game - if Brayden is Brayden I’m sure that will happen as long as we can get our sticks on the ball.”
Washington didn’t face Clinton this season, but Truelove said they beat Terre Haute once and split two meetings with Sullivan.
“We beat Sullivan twice, so I think we can definitely play with them,” Truelove said. “With Brayden (Walls), (Trevor) Claridge or (Bailey) White on the mound I think we can play with anyone.”
After juggling lineups for the summer schedule, Truelove said he has a lineup in mind that has had the most success this season and it starts with former Pike Central standout catcher Brady Like. Like played catcher for the first half of the season, but was replaced by Vincennes Rivet’s Gavin Benock with Like moving to the outfield.
“We’ll have Gavin Benock batting second, Casey Miller batting third followed by Tyler Edmiston in the four-hole and Brayden Walls or Bailey White fifth and sixth. It’s a pretty good lineup.”
Terre Haute American Legion Sectional Today Terre Haute Wayne Newton vs. Sullivan Friday Washington Freedom vs. Clinton