Prep baseball: Warren defeats Logan

LOGAN – Yes, in sports you have to make your own breaks? but there are times when someone else simply won’t let you do so.

Such was the case when Warren center fielder Ethan Estes made a fifth-inning diving catch to deprive the Logan Chieftains of two runs and keep Wednesday’s Southeastern Ohio Athletic League baseball game at Logan Chieftain Field tied.

Estes then led off the sixth with an infield hit and eventually scored the first of five runs that broke a 7-7 deadlock and lifted the Warriors to a 12-7 victory in a meeting of two teams seeking their first victory of the season.

“We just need a couple breaks here and there to bust a game open,” said Logan coach Cody Sutton. “The center fielder made a heck of a play, and it seems like that happens every single game.”

Playing their first conference game of the spring, the Chiefs (0-4 overall, 0-1 SEOAL) let an early 3-0 lead get away as Warren (1-3, 1-1) used a five-run fourth to take a 6-3 lead, only to see the Purple & White bounce back and tie the game with a three-spot of their own in the last of the fourth.

Warren took a 7-6 lead in the top of the fifth when, with runners on second and third and one out, Joel Estes put down a squeeze bunt in front of the plate. Pinch-runner Alex Miller just beat the throw to the plate, sliding in under the tag of freshman catcher Hunter Krannitz.

Logan got that run back in the last of the fifth, however, when Colton Wolfe rapped a leadoff double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Bryce McBride’s sacrifice fly to right field.

The Chiefs had actually loaded the bases before McBride’s fly ball moved all three runners up 90 feet. Logan’s Lane Little then looped a liner over shortstop that look destined for a two-run single in left-center, but James Estes made the diving grab to preserve the tie.

Warren then took the lead when Estes moved to third on Blake Kidder’s double to left-center field and scored when the Chiefs missed the cut-off man on the throw to the infield. He would have scored anyway, however, when Garrett Kennedy followed with a hit that plated Kidder.

The third Warren run scored on a passed ball before the Warriors loaded the bases and Jacob Scott lined a two-run single to right-center field.

Logan, which had 11 hits, threatened in both the sixth and seventh frames off Warren relief pitcher David Ryan. The Chiefs had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth and loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but could not score.

“It’s just a matter of time before we bust through,” said Sutton. “I keep telling these guys that I love the way they’re competing, and that’s important. They have zero reasons to put their heads down.

“Every team we’ve played against, at times we’ve played better than those teams, but it’s just the little things – running into tags, swinging on 3-0 with the bases loaded and popping it up (which the Chiefs did in the seventh frame), baserunning errors,” he continued. “But we’re not making the same mistakes. The mistakes we are making, they are new, and we’re learning from them.”

Gunner Conrad, who pitched an inning-plus in relief of starter Kevin Vorhees, took the pitching loss for the Chiefs. Wolfe, making his first-ever pitching appearance, tossed the final 1 2/3 innings and, once he got into a rhythm, retired five of the last six batters that he faced.

Ryan allowed two hits and two walks and struck out one in 2 2/3 relief innings to get the Warren victory. Jack Music had a double and single for the Chieftains and Krannitz, McBride and Nick Vecchiarelli all contributed two singles, with Wolfe adding his double and Little and Vorhees both chipping in a single. Krannitz, batting leadoff, also drew a pair of walks. Ethan Estes also had a big game at the plate, cracking a double and two singles and driving in two key runs in Warren’s five-run fourth, when the Warriors plated all of their runs after the first two batters had been retired. Kidder had a double and single, Ryan singled twice, and Kennedy, Scott and Joel Estes all added a single.