Fantastic finish: Warren scores 8 in final frame to beat Miami Trace
ATHENS – The Warren Warriors sent 13 hitters to the plate in the seventh inning as they scored eight runs to snap a tie game and advanced to the Ohio Division II district championship game with an 11-3 victory over the top-seeded Miami Trace Panthers Tuesday night at Bob Wren Stadium in Athens.
Last Thursday the Warriors scored five times in the final frame to stun the Athens Bulldogs with a 5-4, come-from-behind- victory, to claim a sectional championship.
Wednesday the fifth- seeded Warriors rallied big time after allowing Trace to tie the game in the last of the sixth inning to hand the Panthers just their third loss of the season.
The royal blue and white jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by plating three runs in the top of the second inning off of Panther starting pitcher Brady Ward.
Gunnar Smith got the inning started with a basehit and moved to second when David Ryan was safe on a fielder’s choice.
Zach McKenna then beat out a bunt single to load the bases, and Smith scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch.
Riley Bobo plated the second Warren run of the third on a fielder’s choice and McKenna came in to score when Bobo stole second and the throw sailed into center field.
The Panthers began to chip away at the Warrior lead in their half of the second as Ryan Swigert reached on an error and eventually scored on a groundout by Austin Shoellkopf.
The game was delayed twice in the first five innings by the sight of lightning in the area forcing both Warren head coach Mark Farr and Miami Trace skipper Chris Miller to pull their starting pitchers earlier than they may have wished.
Warrior starter Danny Pannell was very impressive in his four innings of work as the senior right- hander allowed Trace just two basehits and an unearned run before giving way to Garrett Kennedy.
Miami Trace failed to score off Kennedy in the fifth after loading the bases with one out, but tied the game in the last of the sixth with a little help from the Warrior defense.
With one out, Trevor Haines singled and moved to second when Kennedy uncorked a wild pitch.
One out later, Ryan Thompson singled in Haines to make it 3-2 and after Lane Henry followed with another single, Warren shortstop Ethan Estes misplayed a groundball off the bat of Griff Ward to allow the tying run to score.
The Warriors wasted little time recapturing the lead as seven straight hitters reached base in the top of the seventh off of G.W. Wallace, who came on to relieve Ward.
Lance Schafer got the inning rolling with a single and moved to third on a single up the middle by Estes.
Kennedy’s RBI single snapped the tie and after Trace elected to walk Smith to load the bases, Ryan singled to left to make it 5-3.
That was all she wrote on the mound for Wallace as John Phillips came on in relief and promptly issued a walk to McKenna to force in another run.
Blake Kidder’s infield single made it 7-3 and after Phillips retired the next two Warrior hitters, Schafer crushed a triple over the left fielder’s head to clear the bases and give Warren a comfortable 10-3 lead.
Estes and Kennedy both collected their second singles of the final frame to round out the scoring.
Kennedy allowed a one-out single to Shoellkopf in the last of the seventh but retired the final two Panthers hitters in order to close out the Warrior win.
Miami Trace, whose season comes to an unexpected ending with a 17-3 record, left 12 runners on base in the game.
The win improved the Warriors season mark to 14-9 as they are now just one win away from advancing to regional play.
The big blue will get that opportunity this evening when they return to Bob Wren Stadium to battle the winner of Tuesday nights Jackson versus Washington Court House game for a district title.
First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.