Warren earns a split on the diamond
VINCENT – Warren wasn’t down for long.
After getting mercied 12-0 by Athen High in the opener, the host Warriors bounced back to win the twinbill nightcap, 13-12, in non-conference prep baseball action Saturday.
“We’ll take it,” said Warren skipper Ryan Lemley. “It’s better than losing two. It was ugly, but we’ll take it. In the first game, we just played bad. There’s no other way to say it. Lots of walks. Lots of errors.
“You don’t make seven errors in the second game like we did and win too many. I’m proud of the kids for battling back in that game.”
The Warriors (3-4) finished with 15 hits, and were sparked by junior Tanner Neal’s three knocks, including a two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jake Davis, Chase Weihl and Trace Congleton all chipped in with two base hits.
Freshman southpaw Drew Huffman picked up the mound win in relief of lefty Neal, who started the game on the bump.
“I thought the freshman came in there in a tight spot (in the sixth) and did a good job for us,” Lemley said. “That was his first varsity win, and I’ve got the game ball for him.”
Athens reliever Preston Hayes suffered the setback on the hill. The Bulldogs (3-4) were led by Taylor Stieffel, who was 3 for 4 and scored four runs. Joseph Thomas drove in three runs and scored three times, while Brock Stewart had two hits and four RBIs.
Capitalizing on two Warren errors, AHS staked itself to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. But in the bottom half of the frame, Congleton’s two-out, run-scoring single plated Neal to tie the score.
The Bulldogs took a 4-1 lead in the second with Thomas’ two-run double highlighting the scoring.
Warren, though, came right back with six runs in the bottom of the third. After Tanner Proctor and Wiehl each singled with one out, the Warriors benefitted from four consecutive walks. Neal then singled to drive in a run, and Davis plated two more with a hit to right to make it 7-4.
Athens cut it to 7-6 in the fourth, again capitalizing on a couple of Warrior miscues.
The Bulldogs then plated four runs and regained the advantage, 10-7, in the top of the sixth. Stewart had the big hit, a two-run single.
In the bottom half of the frame, Warren loaded up the bases with two outs and got a clutch two-run single from Huffman to cut it to 10-9. Bryce Gandee followed with an RBI hit, which tied the score at 10-all.
Stepping into the batter’s box, Neal lofted a flyball to center field which fell safely when the Athens’ defender Andy Kostival collapsed after apparently turning his ankle. On Neal’s hit, two Warriors legged it around the bases to give the home team a 12-10 lead.
Neal later scored on a wild pitch.
Athens rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh before Huffman got Luke Carpenter on a game-ending groundball to shortstop Trace Schafer.
Warren is scheduled to open up Southeastern Ohio Athletic League play against Gallia Academy at 5 p.m. Tuesday.