Wharton baseball coach Scott Hoffman has learned something significant during the past two weeks.
"Less is more," he said, laughing.
After toning down practices and allowing for some lighthearted competition, the Wildcats won their fifth in a row, beating Freedom 4-1 on Thursday night in the regular-season finale.
"I like the effort we're getting," Hoffman said. "We're not playing as tight as we did before, and we're getting good pitching."
Freedom joins Armwood, Durant and Gaither as Wharton's latest victims.
Wharton (12-8) got the bulk of its runs in the second inning. Bret Kaminski's single to center field drove in Grant Wilson, and two batters later, Brian Christianson scored on a grounder to short for a 2-0 advantage. Moments later, a wild pitch allowed Kaminski to score from third base.
Wharton starting pitcher Shaun Rubin (6-2) threw five innings, giving up four hits and striking out three. He didn't walk any Patriots batters.
Wharton's final run came on a blast over the right-field wall by Nick Kranick.
In the fourth inning, Matt Dunbar's single scored Dave Seward from third base, giving Freedom (10-11) its lone run.
"Tonight was one of those games where I wasn't going to focus on the results," Freedom coach A.J. Leppla said after complimenting his team for picking up on Rubin's sequence of pitches. "The process was a lot of fun to watch."