GARY | K.C. Waleski admitted to feeling nervous before walking onto the mound at the Steel Yard, but the Calumet junior pitcher was able to squash the butterflies before delivering his first pitch.
Waleski pitched a complete game Friday night, allowing five hits, three earned runs and struck out 14 as the Warriors defeated Roosevelt 15-5 in the Joe "Moose" Gates Classic, also the first game of the ninth annual RailCats High School Challenge.
"I thought I threw pretty well, but I could have done better," said Waleski, who also scored a run in the fifth inning and had a hit in the sixth inning. "I could have not walked as many people as I did. This was my first time playing here, and I was nervous."
Waleski, who doesn't have overpowering velocity on his pitches, struck out the side in the first inning to begin his outing.
However, coach Roger Azbill knows Waleski is still quite raw off the mound. This season, Azbill plans to trot five different pitchers out, each of which are still refining their games.
"Basically, (Waleski) is still a work in progress," Azbill said. "He's got some size to him. He'll pitch around the plate nearly all the time. We've got to get him a little more velocity and hopefully, he'll work in that.
"We've got about five kids, and hopefully we'll get them to be able to throw strikes."
Waleski was spotted three runs before he even stepped up to the mound. Derrick Urbasewski reached on an error to begin the game, later scoring on a bases-loaded walk from Brian Scurlock. Another error later in the inning allowed both Jeff Damron and Marcus Jackson to cross the plate.
With the Panthers (0-1) down 4-0 in the bottom of the second inning, two consecutive doubles from Jevon Oden and Jonathan Fawries started a four-run inning. DeQuais Goodman and Raishawn Vaughn would lace RBI singles to help the Panthers' tie it up 4-4.
However, Calumet would break the game open with two runs in the fourth and fifth innings before adding three runs in the sixth and four in the seventh.
Calumet committed four errors, which left some cause for concern for Azbill.
"We've got a couple kids out there who are trying to learn it the best they can," Azbill. "Some of them are still young and rough around the edges."
In the second game, West Side defeated Lew Wallace 25-6 when the game was called official after two innings.