Prep baseball: Warriors sweep Tigers
Warren pushed across a pair of unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning and then held off a Marietta threat as the Warriors downed the Tigers 4-3 to claim a doubleheader sweep Saturday at Legion Field.
After getting an outstanding pitching performance from Blake Kidder in an 8-2 win in Game 1, the Warriors entered the seventh inning of the nightcap trailing 3-2 before taking full advantage of a Tiger miscue to push the go-ahead run across.
Warren freshman third baseman Trace Schafer reached base on an error by MHS shortstop Isaac Danford to open the pivotal seventh and scored on a long double to left field off the bat of Ethan Estes, the fourth two-base hit of the doubleheader for the Warren senior, to tie the game at 3-3.
Marietta starting pitcher Adam McKnight rebounded to induce Kidder to ground out harmlessly to third base, but Estes broke for third on the throw to first and slid in safely.
Tiger head coach Jim Thrash elected to walk Warren catcher Gunnar Smith intentionally to set up the force play at second base, a strategy that almost worked when Garrett Kennedy hit a ground ball to second.
The Tigers attempt at an inning ending double play was just a little too late as Kennedy beat the throw to first allowing Estes to cross the plate with the go-ahead run.
“It could have went either way, but our kids really came through there in the last inning,” said Warren head coach Kevin Welsh. “We made some clutch plays on offense and defense.”
Marietta threatened right away in their last at bat off of Warren reliever David Ryan when Zach Robinson and Turner Hill each reached base on a hit by pitch and a base on balls respectively.
Ryan, who was in his second inning of work after replacing Warren starting pitcher Justin Hill, got a huge first out when he fanned Danford.
Joel Estes came up with the play of the game for the royal blue and white when the junior second baseman made a nice sliding catch of a Brandon Neville shot up the middle and flipped it to Ethan Estes to force Hill on a very close play at second base.
Ryan then closed out the deal when he struck out McKnight swinging to close out the game and square the Warriors season mark at 3-3.
“It’s a good win and the kids really played well,” said Welsh, who at one time was the head football coach at Warren High. “Anytime you can get a pair of wins over a rival like Marietta it’s always big. Both teams played great in that second game and that’s the way it ought to be when these two get together.”
Warren scored its first two runs of Game 2 in the first inning on a double by Estes a pair of Tiger errors and a run-scoring single by Lance Schafer.
The Tigers tied things up in the last of the third on RBI basehits by Danford and McKnight, and then took their only lead of the twinbill in the last of the fifth when Trent Dawson walked, stole second, moved to third on a groundout before crossing the plate on a Hill wild pitch.
While the second game was a nail-biter to the very end, the opener was all Warren as it scored five runs in the first three innings and never looked back.
Kidder went six innings, allowing four hits and a pair of Tiger runs to gain the victory, while Jacob Wagner tossed a perfect seventh inning in relief.
Ethan Estes had a pair of doubles in the opener, while eight different Warriors collected at least one basehit.
Marietta scored its only two runs of the game in the sixth inning when five straight hitters reached base.
Neville doubled and scored on a McKnight singled and Max Fitzgerald accounted for the other Tiger run when he grounded out to score Dawson.
Robinson started the opener for MHS and allowed seven hits and six runs (two earned) in five innings of work.
While Warren is a veteran team with no less than 10 seniors on its roster, Jim Thrash’s Tigers are quite young with as many as five freshman on the field at any given time.
“They outplayed us in every phase of the game in the opener but the second game is one where we let something get out of our hands that we should have been finishing off,” said Thrash.
“We are young but there were too many mistakes out there. I hope we learned some lessons today that are going to benefit us in the future.”
Marietta is scheduled to stay at home Monday to host Meadowbrook, while the Warriors will look to get over the .500 mark when they travel to Belpre on Tuesday.