CEDAR LAKE | Preparing for its first foray into next week's Northwest Indiana Challenge, Hanover Central opened the baseball season Wednesday hitting with wood bats.
Against a young Lowell team, the Wildcats didn't notice a difference in production.
"I like hitting with wood," catcher Zac Maciejewski said. "All the tournaments in the summer are wood bats. The guys are used to using them, especially the tournaments down south are all wood."
Collecting 11 hits in a 10-0 five-inning win, the Wildcats started their first season in Class 3A in convincing fashion.
"Can't argue about it today, we got 10 runs and 11 hits," Maciejewski said. "If we can put up 10 runs and 11 hits with wood, I can't wait to see what we can do with metal."
The catcher scored the final run of the game, legging out a throw that tried to cut Maciejewski out at home. It was the third run for the junior, who hit 3-for-3. Each of Maciejewski's runs was notched as an RBI for pitcher Dan Stum, who allowed four hits off the mound and walked two while striking out two.
The Wildcats (1-0) also saw production out of a pair of freshman as center fielder Jesse Wilkening went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs and Jake Perreira was 1-for-2 with two runs.
"We hit it pretty hard," Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson said. "When you find that sweet spot, it doesn't matter what you're swinging with."
Lowell is missing four players due to disciplinary reasons, but coach Bobby Wong wouldn't use the excuse for his team's loss.
"We're just young overall," Wong said. "At the end of the game right there, we had three guys on the field that played last year. We've got a lot to learn and I think they learned a lot today."
Lowell collected four errors as Hanover scored two unearned runs. Starter Nick Willison threw 3 1/3 innings, allowing six hits. Offensively, the Red Devils (0-1) scattered four hits from Tyler Hamm, Kyle Jeffries, Eric Groebner and Logan Schiessle.
"With our defense, when we can field with the best of them, and it makes life easy for the pitchers, " Maciejewski said.