Devin Truscott wasn’t expecting to see the mound Friday unless it was in the late innings of Needles’ Class 2A state semifinal against Whittell.
After Needles staked the sophomore to a nine-run lead after one inning, any trepidation he might have had about toeing the rubber as the starter was long gone.
“It pumped me up,” Truscott said after the Mustangs’ 15-3 pasting of Whittell at The Meadows. “I didn’t think I was going to pitch, really, but my arm felt great, and I really hit spots well today.”
Needles (21-9) will face Yerington (25-9) in today’s championship round at 10 a.m. at The Meadows and needs to win twice in the double-elimination tournament to claim the title.
Needles batted around in each of the first two innings for 13 runs on 11 hits. Mason Cisneros, who had the game-winning hit in Needles’ 4-3 victory over The Meadows (24-7-1) earlier Friday, stayed hot in the semifinal with a double, a single and four RBIs — in the first inning.
“Sooner or later our bats were (going to) come around,” Needles coach Ken Parker said. “Yesterday and earlier today weren’t as good (at the plate) as what we’ve done in the past, but this game was a lot better.”
Whittell starter Matt Elliott was chased after five batters, with Cisneros and Matt McAndrews each belting doubles. Elliott was tagged for four runs on four hits and a walk without recording an out.
Whittell (22-13) used two relievers before finally getting out of the first inning.
With Parker hoping to save his top two starters — McAndrews and Ryan Andrews — for today’s championship round, Truscott’s solid performance was almost a must-have for Needles.
Needles 4, The Meadows 3 — Austin Baldwin tripled in the seventh inning and scored the winning run on Cisneros’ single. Baldwin finished 3-for-4.
Yerington 15, Whittell 6 — Jared Adams went 3-for-5 and Curtis Stubblefield had two doubles for the Lions, who totaled 19 hits.