Warren overcomes deficit
VINCENT In a sloppy slugfest, played in chilly temperatures under a lead-grey sky, Bryce Gandee defied the elements to steal the show.
The Warren shortstop belted two home runs over the left-field fence and led his team to a 16-10 comeback victory against Waterford in a game shortened by darkness.
The win gave the Warriors third place honors in the Washington County tournament.
“This is March baseball; it’s what you get,” said Warren coach Ryan Lemley postgame.
“This is the third game in three days for both of these teams. Pitchers just aren’t ready yet.”
Wildcats boss Doug Huffman concurred with his counterpart’s lukewarm assessment.
“It’s early in the season, and we were lacking a little bit of execution.
“We took too many pitches. We had nine strikeouts, but the good news is, we still scored ten runs.”
Waterford struck first, scoring five runs in the top of the second. The Wildcats loaded the bases with one out on singles by Clay Hayes and Braden Bellville, with a walk to right-fielder Bryce Hilverding sandwiched between. Left-fielder Cam Bosner brought them all around with a bases-clearing double off Warren starter Trace Schafer.
After a strikeout, Wildcat catcher Isaac Huffman rapped a double into the gap in right-center to score Bosner, and was subsequently plated by a Devyn Farley RBI single.
Warren hit back in the bottom of the frame with three unearned runs off Waterford starter Montana Brooker, in a half-inning featuring three infield errors by the Wildcats.
Warrior catcher Jake Davis cut the margin to 5-4 by leading off the bottom of the third with a home run to the power alley in left-center.
A pair of Warren errors in the top of the fourth allowed Waterford to increase the lead to 7-4, but the Warriors batted around in the bottom of the inning to claim the lead.
Warren’s Drew Huffman reached on an error to lead off, and a walk to Gandee – his third in four innings – followed by a Schafer single loaded the bases. Davis walked to score Huffman, and Tanner Proctor was hit by a pitch from Wildcat reliever Isaac Wagner to bring in another.
After Chase Weihl was retired on a mile-high popup to second, three consecutive hits – an RBI single by Trace Congleton, a two-run double down the left-field line by right fielder Tanner Necil and another RBI single by second basemen Max Hapney made it a 10-7 game after four.
Gandee opened the bottom of the fifth with the first of his homers, a shot over the high wall in left field, and Proctor later singled in Schafer for 12-7.
Waterford centerfielder Braden Bellville opened the top of the sixth with a homer of his own, a line shot over the left field alley, and two more Wildcat runs ensued on an RBI fielder’s choice by Riley Burns which plated another run when the attempted double-play throw went awry.
The game seemed delicately poised at 12-10, but Warren scored two more runs with one out in the bottom of the sixth before Gandee connected for his second ‘tater – a two-run blast this time, into precisely the same tree he had placed his earlier shot.
The umpires then called the game on account of darkness, with a certain amount of confusion ensuing over whether the runs scored in the bottom of the sixth would count.
Proctor, Necil and Hapney all joined Gandee with multiple-hit performances for Warren, while Bosner’s 2-3 with three runs-batted-in led the Wildcats.
Waterford returns to the diamond tomorrow as it hosts South Gallia, and the Warriors travel to Alexander, also tomorrow at 5 p.m.