NEW RICHMOND - It was nearly the ultimate miscalculation.
After Independence and Oak Hill had battled 15 innings Thursday - a 12-11 Oak Hill win - the prevailing opinion was the Patriots pitching staff was shot.
And in essence, it basically was, except for one player.
Hunter Schoolcraft, who had masterfully shut out the Warriors three days earlier on just 66 pitches, was more than ready and willing to return to the New Richmond mound.
The Warriors were not having any of it.
In a game played in on-again, off-again rain showers, the Warriors jumped on Schoolcraft early in an 8-1 victory Saturday afternoon.
It was the third-straight win in an elimination game for the Warriors after they fell to the Patriots in the sectional opener Wednesday.
It sent the Warriors to Oak Hill Monday, with a day's rest and ace Matt Caldwell on the hill.
"We thought we might have them at a disadvantage but we miscalculated," Wyoming East coach Ron "Chief" Mayhew said. "It didn't happen. Fortunately we brought a better game to the field than they did today."
Given the last game, Schoolcraft might have been the last player Wyoming East wanted to see on the mound.
As the rains fell, and all other games around the area were being postponed, that's what happened.
McQuade Canada and the Warriors offense had other ideas.
Canada pitched a complete game and the Warriors got to Schoolcraft early.
Try first inning early.
And maybe the first batter set the tone. Canada struck out but when the pitch got away from catcher Caleb Daniels, Canada reached first. The next batter, Eric Hoosier, hit a rocket shot over the centerfield fence for a 2-0 lead. It was his first home run of the year.
It was a milestone shot, the senior's 100th career hit.
"That was pretty exciting," Hoosier said. "To be honest I thought I just popped it up. I was just trying to run the bases."
He nearly caught Canada on the base paths.
Schoolcraft's defense didn't help much either, committing three of the five errors they'd commit in the first inning. Ten batters came to the plate. By the end of the inning, it was the Warriors completely turning the tables from Wednesday in grabbing a 5-0 lead.
The Warriors added two in the bottom of the third, with Brandon Simpson getting his second RBI of the game with a double and Canada bringing him home, via a head-first slide, with a sacrifice fly to left field. That made it 7-0.
"I realize that we haven't been hitting good recently," Simpson said. "I just want to get out here and win these games."
With the way Canada was pitching, that run support was more than enough. He needed just 10 pitches to get out of the first. Some of the quick innings allowed him to go the distance.
"It definitely got me get in a rhythm," Canada said. "Any time you can get those top two guys, they're pretty good hitters. They're all pretty good hitters but those top two are tough. I knew I got out of there and we were in pretty good shape. It takes the pressure off when you get the lead but it also takes the pressure off when you have the defense back there. I know when they hit it (the defense) will take care of it."
He gave up just four hits, walked one and struck out six.
"He's a really fun pitcher to catch," Hoosier said. "I did a marvelous job today. He hit his spots.
He did good with runners on base, in tough situations."
Hoosier and Matt Caldwell had three hits. Caldwell is 9 of 14 in the postseason (.643) with four runs and three RBI.
The decision to play as everyone else was postponing wound up being a good one for the Warriors.
"Absolutely," Canada said. "We got here this morning and we saw the field looked pretty good. We rolled the field. And then we just did our normal routine."
Almost immediately after the game ended, a torrential downpour hit the area.
"We're having a lot of fun," Mayhew said, watching the rain soaking the field where his team had just won its third elimination game in a row. "When it's fun you never want to see it end. To me there is nothing more fun than sitting in a dugout watching baseball."
Wyoming East 8, Independence 1
Independence 000 100 0 - 1 4 5
Wyoming East 502 100 x - 8 9 1
Battery - I: Hunter Schoolcraft, Tanner Sipes (4) and Caleb Daniels. WE: McQuade Canada and Eric Hoosier. WP - McQuade Canada 114 pitches, 78 strikes, 7.0 IP 4H 1R 1ER 1BB 6K. LP - Hunter Schoolcraft 64 pitches, 46 strikes, 3.0 IP 6H 7R 2ER 0BB 2K. Hitting - I: Michael McKInney (run), Hunter Schoolcraft 2-3, David Wilson (RBI), A.J. Zilinksi 1-3, River Spencer 1-2. WE: McQuade Canada (run, RBI), Eric Hoosier 3-4 (HR, run, 2 RBI), Matt Caldwell 3-4 (2 runs), Tanner Whitten 1-4, Chase York (run), Chris Harvey 1-3 (2B, 2 runs, RBI), Brandon Simpson 2-3 (2B, run, 2 RBI).