Warren sweeps: Warrior baseball, softball teams each post victories
VINCENT – Justin Hill fired a two-hit shutout and Gunnar Smith connected on a three-run, first inning home run to pace the Warren Warriors to a 5-0, Southeastern Ohio Athletic Conference victory over the visiting Chillicothe Cavaliers Friday night.
Hill continued the recent run of outstanding Warrior pitching as the south paw fanned seven Chillicothe hitters while walking none.
“Justin Hill was just outstanding again tonight,” said Warren head coach Mark Farr. “I like guys that throw strikes in the bottom of the strike zone and he did it all day today.”
Hill’s outing was quite similar to the one-hitter thrown by Danny Pannell in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Logan.
The Warriors jumped all over Cavalier starting pitcher Nick Rinehart in the opening inning as consecutive basehits by Logan Schafer, Ethan Estes, and Garrett Kennedy made it 1-0.
Smith followed with his first long ball of the season, a towering blast over the left field fence, to give the Warriors the early 4-0 lead.
“The was a big home run right off of the bat there by Gunnar (Smith),” said Farr of Smith, who backed up former Warrior standout catcher and current MC Pioneer Landon Kern last year. “It was a big start for us and good to get ahead early.”
Hill got into serious trouble just once on the mound as Chillicothe loaded the bases with nobody out in the last of the fourth inning but failed to dent the plate.
The lefty fanned one Cavalier hitter for the first out and induced the next hitter to bounce a one hopper right back to the mound which started a 1-2-3 double play to put an end to the lone Cavalier threat of the game.
“It’s important for our pitchers to field their position and Justin (Hill) made a good play there,” said Farr of what very well may have been the key play of the game. “We got the force at home and were very fortunate to get the out at first as well. That was basically one of the deciding plays of the game.”
Warren’s other run came on an RBI single by Zach McKenna in the third inning.
Warren pitching so far this week has been nothing short of brilliant as it has allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings pitched.
The Warrior bats collected seven hits in the game, and Farr feels that as the weather warms up so will his teams offensive production.
“Our hitting has been a little behind but I think a lot of it has to do with this wind and weather out here,” said Farr. “It’s hard to get comfortable, but hopefully as the weather heats up we can start stringing some hits together.”
The Warriors will travel to Parkersburg today for a 1 p.m. doubleheader against the Big Reds.
Warren 6, Chillicothe 1
Great pitching is not limited to just the Warrior boys team as the Lady Warriors came up with another gem of their own in a 6-1 SEOAL victory over the Lady Cavaliers.
Kaylee Higgins tossed a complete game one-hitter and Warren struck for all six of its runs in the fourth inning as the Lady Warriors improved to 7-2 on the season.
Higgins allowed only a second inning single to Hayley Woodridge, while fanning five hitters and walking just two.
Higgins’ one-hitter came on the heels of Arriane Schetter’s no-hitter Wednesday night against Logan.
“Our pitching got off to a slow start early on in the season,” said Lady Warrior head coach Rachelle Pallini. “The past three games they have really been coming into their own and doing what we need them to do.”
The Warriors did all of their damage in the pivotal fourth inning as they strung together five hits to provide Higgins with all the run support she we need.
Kendra Lynch led off the inning with a single and came all the way around to score on a double by Brandi Douglass.
Kylee Lynch and Schetter followed with back-to-back singles and third baseman Kaitlin Coffman doubled in another run to make it a 6-0 ball game.
Pallini had been waiting for her team to put together a big inning.
“We have been hitting the ball okay so far on the season but we just keep getting hits here and there,’ said Pallini of her team who collected nine hits in the game. “Finally tonight we had an inning where we put some together and that was big.”
Higgins was in total control on the mound as she never allowed more than one Chillicothe runner to reach base in any inning until the Lady Cavs capitalized on a pair of Warren errors to avoid the shutout in the last of the seventh.
The Lady Warriors get the weekend off before returning to conference action Monday when they travel to Jackson.