The success being achieved this season by the Whiteland baseball program carries a relatively simple explanation, according to pitcher Tyler Robinson.
The briefest of versions being that experience counts.
“We have 10 seniors on the team, and we all lead as we can,” said Robinson, a fastball-delivering right-hander who was sporting a 1-1 record and 2.51 ERA entering Monday’s nonconference game at Franklin Central.
“I think we’ve just had better chemistry of late.”
With a 10-6 record, the Warriors already have produced three more victories than they had during the entire 2016 season.
Offensively, the Warriors are led by seniors Bailey Watson (.434), Jacob Leistner (.434) and Logan Mullinix (.319). Juniors Chase Bennett (.339) and Austin Cook (.312) are also integral factors to a squad averaging just under six runs a game.
However, in no way should the Warriors’ pitching efforts be overlooked.
The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Robinson, junior Nick Carrizales and sophomore Luke Helton spearhead a staff responsible for a team ERA of 2.20. In all, a total of nine arms have contributed to Whiteland and have struck out 118 batters and walked 70.
“We’re pitching very well as a group,” 10th-year coach Scott Sherry said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had this many seniors on one team. Maybe ever. But it’s a mindset. The players on this team like coming to the field every day. We’ve tried to emphasize that, but they make it easier.
“With Tyler, it’s just his overall composure and his command. The mindset that he belongs out there. He feels he can get guys out consistently.”
An outstanding student (3.93 grade-point average), Robinson plans to play baseball at Franklin College and major in pre-pharmacy or medical statistics.
A three-year starter for the Warriors, Robinson most certainly has saved his best for last when it comes to his high school baseball career.
“I feel I’m pitching very different,” he said. “Better than the last two years. It’s my last year and I really want to make something happen this season.”
On April 8, Sherry handed Robinson the baseball before the title game of the Johnson County Tournament at Center Grove.
The senior responded, working 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven Trojan batters as Whiteland won, 6-2, to break a decades-old county tournament championship drought.
“That was probably the biggest game I’ve pitched in,” Robinson said. “I was actually pretty nervous before the game when I was warming up in the bullpen. But that game definitely brought us together as a team.”
Currently part of a four-way tie atop the Mid-State Conference standings along with Franklin, Mooresville and Decatur Central with a 4-2 record, the Warriors are scheduled to play the Grizzly Cubs today and Wednesday.
THE ROBINSON FILE
Pitching statistics this season for Whiteland senior Tyler Robinson:
Innings pitched: 22 1/3