After going the entirety of the regular season without a tally in the win column, the Verona Wildcats finally recorded a W on Monday in the first round of the Class 1, District 6 tournament. Coach Fred Lundien's team shut out Exeter 6-0 for its first victory of the year to move on to the semifinals.
The Wildcats got on the board early, as leadoff hitter Tristan Freiburger drew a walk and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt after Kolton Pinkly reached on an error. A single by Gabe Smith scored Freiburger, and an error by the Exeter centerfielder later allowed Pinkly and Smith to score, giving Verona a 3-0 lead.
The underdog Wildcats struck again in the top of the third, as Pinkly led off with a double and was sacrificed to third on a bunt. Another Exeter error off the bat of Tyler Johnson scored Pinkly and yet another would later score Johnson for a 5-0 Verona lead.
Verona would plate one more in the top of the fourth, as a two-out double by Freiburger extended the inning before an RBI triple by Pinkly brought a run across.
From there, Pinkly shut down the Exeter batters, allowing just one hit over seven innings of work. He struck out 13 on the way to his first win of the year.
Unfortunately for Verona, it turned out to be the only win of the year, as the Wildcats fell the next night to end the season with a 12-2 loss to Hurley.
Three Wildcats starters will need to be replaced next season, as Johnson, Freiburger and Landin Reid graduated last week, but the remaining six starters for Lundien should return for another year.