Warren recorded a rare triple play in its 11-3 triumph over Washington Court House in an Ohio Division II Southeast District championship baseball game at Bob Wren Field on the campus of Ohio University in Athens.
"That was huge, because the bases were loaded at the time (top of the fifth inning), and we were only up 7-2," said Warren skipper Mark Farr.
So, what's next on the diamond for the Warriors (15-9)?
Photo courtesy of Robin Pannell
Warren’s Lance Schafer, right, does a head-first slide into third base during district semifinal baseball action against Miami Trace at Bob Wren Stadium in Athens on May 21. The Warriors won 11-3, and then beat Washington Court House by the identical score the following day to claim the district crown and a berth in today’s regional semi against Harrison Central at Gant Municipal Stadium in Zanesville.
Probably not another triple play, but a win over Justin Clifford-led Cadiz Harrison Central in the Sweet 16 round would be...yes, sweet.
"I'm hoping we can keep going to state, like we did in basketball," said Warren senior pitcher Danny Pannell.
At 2 p.m. today, Warren is scheduled to play the Huskies (24-5) in a regional semifinal at Zanesville's Gant Municpal Stadium. The winner advances to the Elite Eight or regional title tilt, which is slated for 5 p.m. Friday at the same venue.
Probable Warren starters vs. Harrison Central
Danny Pannell, RH pitcher (8-2, 1.86 ERA)
David Ryan, DH, .352
Gunnar Smith, catcher, .356
Justin Hill, first base
Riley Bobo, second base
Garrett Kennedy, third base, .329
Ethan Estes, shortstop, .357
Zach McKenna, left field, 301
Lance Schafer, center field, .397
Blake Kidder, right field, .419
Both Warren and Harrison Central naturally are hoping to play two - games, that is, this week.
"It's high school baseball, and anything can happen," Farr said.
Harrison Central got to the regional showdown by virtue of its 4-0 blanking of highly regarded Dover (25-4) at Vaccaro Field in Steubenville on May 22.
On that same day, Warren had little difficulty in taming the No. 3-seeded Lions (12-11). The Warriors, who rapped out 12 hits, touched home plate in every inning but the fifth.
Offensively, the royal blue and white nine were led center fielder and leadoff batter Lance Schafer, who was 3 for 4 with an RBI, two stolen bases and two runs scored. Schafer (.397 batting average, 8 doubles) was recently named to the All-Southeast Ohio Athletic League first team.
Danny Pannell (pitcher/first baseman) was also a first teamer, while shortstop Ethan Estes (.357) and catcher Gunnar Smith (.356, 21 RBIs) each was an honorable mention.
Against Washington Court House, left fielder Zach McKenna (.301), Estes and Smith each added two base knocks for the winners. Smith also drove in three runs, and Estes had two RBIs.
As a team this spring, Warren is batting .285.
"We've been hitting really good," Farr said. "I just hate these long breaks between games."
Southpaw Justin Hill (3-1, 1.75 ERA, 2 saves) was the winning pitcher versus Washington Court House. He fanned five and walked three in six innings of work.
Righty Garrett Kennedy (3-3, 3.31 ERA) relieved and sealed the victory in the seventh.
"Overall, our pitching's been great," Farr said. "I like our staff. We're not exactly overpowering, but the kids throw strikes. That's what I preach - no walks."
Against Harrison Central, the Warriors' other probable starters are expected to be Garrett Kennedy (third base, .329), Riley Bobo (second), Hill (first), David Ryan (DH, .352, 18 RBIs), and Blake Kidder (right, .419).
The right-handed-throwing and University of Muskingum recruit Pannell (8-2, 1.86 ERA, 50Ks) will get the nod on the hill.
"We knew about Danny going to Muskingum a few weeks ago," Farr said. "I think it's helped him relax a little bit knowing where he's going to college."
Harrison Central will probably counter with lefty Rashaen Mitchell (8-1), who tossed a two-hitter against Dover. Hurling a complete, seven-inning game, the 6-foot-6 senior he fanned eight and walked no Tornadoes.
"He has a good fastball, and also throws a curveball," said Farr of Mitchell. "I think if we can get to him early, we'll be OK."
Nick Staten will be Mitchell's battery mate.
Some other Huskies to keep an eye on will be Rhett Kuryn, Nick Pelegreen, Dustin Redish, Ryan Rose, Drew Horn, Dalton Rutter, and Austin Kowalski.