Sports Talk: Warren sophomore a nice addition to the batting order

Warren is batting .285 as a team going into Ohio Division II regional semifinal baseball play against Cadiz Harrison Central at Gant Municipal Stadium in Zanesville at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The Warriors will be featuring seven .300-plus hitters in the order – center fielder Lance Schafer (.397), shortstop Ethan Estes (.357), catcher Gunnar Smith (.356), designated hitter David Ryan (.352), third baseman Garrett Kennedy (.329), left fielder Zach McKenna (.301), and right fielder Blake Kidder (.419).

Second baseman Riley Bobo and first baseman Justin Hill will be the other position starters for Warren.

Kidder – who was promoted to the varsity during the regular season – has only played in 10 games. As a sophomore batsman on the JV squad, he was hitting the cover off the ball with a team-high .463 average (19 for 49), one home run, seven doubles, 18 runs batted in, and 17 runs scored.

The Warren JVs as a team were hitting .310.

“We were looking for someone to hit in the No. 7 hole in the batting order,” said Warren head baseball coach Mark Farr. “So, we brought up Blake, and all he’s done for us is hit over .400 on the varsity level. He’s been one of the big keys for us.”

Kidder’s addition to the varsity just happens to coincide with Warren’s turnaround on the diamond. Before he was inserted into the lineup, the Warriors were basically a .500 ballclub.

Now, with Kidder swinging away, Warren has posted a 15-9 overall record with both a sectional and district championship to its credit.

Is a regional crown next?

Warren of course is hoping so, and it starts with beating Harrison Central and the Huskies’ 6-foot-6 senior left-hander Rashaen Mitchell (8-1).

In one of Kidder’s first games in a varsity uniform in Vincent, he went 2 for 3 with a double in a 2-0 Warren triumph over Marietta High and its crafty southpaw Evan Sawyer.

Earlier in the spring, Sawyer and the Tigers blanked the Warriors, 2-0, at Legion Field.

“I’m just glad we don’t have to face him (Sawyer) again this season,” Farr said.

Less than a week later, after beating MHS, Kidder slugged his first varsity home run in a 9-1 win at Logan. In that game, he went 2 for 4 at the plate.

During district tournament play at Bob Wren Stadium on the campus of Ohio University in Athens, Warren beat both Miami Trace and Washington Court House by the identical score of 11-3.

Just about every Warren batsman hit the ball. Kidder himself had a knock in each game.

“We’ve been swinging the bats pretty good,” Farr said.

While Kidder didn’t start the season with the Warren varsity, he’ll be there at the finish, wherever that may be – taking his cuts in the No. 7 hole in the batting order.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com