Yellow Team takes early lead in Fall World Series


Sean Marty / The Sunflower

Junior L.J. McDonough prepares to throw a pitch during game two Fall World Series on Oct. 9 at Eck Stadium.

The baseball program returned to action at Eck Stadium this weekend with the annual Fall World Series – an intrasquad scrimmage with the program split into two teams.

The Yellow Team was able to take the first game of the series on Saturday, 14-7 after scoring seven runs in the top of the ninth inning. The game featured 27 combined hits, including two homers from each team. Ross Cadena homered on the first pitch of the game for Yellow, and Chuck Ingram hit a go-ahead three-run shot in the seventh. Black got back-to-back homers from Brock Rodden and Garrett Kocis.

In game two, the Black Team evened up the series, after a go-ahead three-run home run from Garrett Kocis to give Black a late 5-2 lead. Yellow showed some fight in the bottom half of the inning, as Chuck Ingram slammed a two-run double to center that put the tying run in scoring position. Reliever Grayson Jones slammed the door with a strikeout to nail down the save and tie the series.

“The way they’re competing against each other, that’s what we’re looking for,” head coach Eric Wedge said. “That’s the way I look at Shocker baseball. You go out there, you compete, you fight, and you work hard to win ball games, and you saw that.”

Wedge said he was encouraged by the chippiness and trash talking he’s seen from both sides as they put a close to the spring season.

“I call that energy,” Wedge said. “We’re going to be respectful, but we’re looking to raise the anxiety level, we want them to put pressure on each other, we want them to push each other and you’re going to have that in the regular season in college baseball. Those that haven’t been here need to understand that’s going to be coming their way.”

Senior Garrett Kocis has been one of the brightspots of the series, blasting two homers and driving in five runs in the first two games. Kocis is coming off a breakout junior season when he hit a career-high 12 home runs but struggled down the stretch after missing a month with a wrist injury.

“Once I got injured, I kind of lost my rhythm,” Kocis said. “I just kept working at it and finally got back in the swing of things. Now I’m back to my old self and it feels good.”

The Shockers had a roster overhaul during the offseason, after 16 players entered the transfer portal and had seven more players graduate. WSU has added a total of 24 players to the roster this fall including 11 high school players. 

Wedge said these scrimmages can be beneficial to those younger players.

“I think it’s helpful for everybody but especially for the younger players,” Wedge said. “They haven’t dealt with this before and this is just a smidgen of what it’s going to be like in the spring when you have more people in the stands, playing a different uniform. For us to replicate that as best we can, I think it’s really important especially as we head towards the end of  the fall.”

“This is huge. The two different teams today, we’re getting after each other but once this World Series is over and whoever wins, wins, we’re just going to be a big family and taking on everybody as one. It’s huge to be able to compete against each and feel what it’s like to do it against other teams.”

The Shockers will continue the Fall World Series this week with games two through four being closed to the public. Game five will be open to the first 2,000 fans on Oct. 17 with the first pitch at 1 p.m.