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Kurt Taylor leads Warren past Parkersburg, 6-3

VINCENT — Kurt Taylor doubled twice, scored two runs and pitched four innings of one-run ball to lift Warren past Parkersburg 6-3 Tuesday.

The Warriors won their fourth straight game and improved to 13-7. They jumped out to 4-0 lead after an inning thanks in part to Taylor’s first two-bagger and a few miscues by Parkersburg — a balk and two errors.

Warren head coach pulled Taylor after four innings once he reached his pitch limit. At that point, the Warriors held a 6-1 lead and Lemley gave the ball to Hunter Vincent, who allowed two runs in the fifth but settled down and put up zeroes in the sixth and seventh to close it down.

“I thought (Taylor) did a really good job,” Lemley said. “We kind of had an attack going into it and wanted to keep that (pitch count) number down under 75. That way if we need him to close out Friday’s league game against New Philly, he would be available. I thought he did a good job at the plate. He kind of went out and bulldogged it for us and threw really well.”

Evan Gandee led off the bottom of the first with a single to right field and went to second on Seth Dennis’s walk. Taylor then doubled off the left field wall to plate Gandee. With Dennis now on third, PHS starting pitcher Michael Owen was called for a balk to make it 2-0. Taylor later scored on the first of four PHS errors. Derek McAfee, who reached on a single, also came around to score on an error as Warren put up a four-spot in the first.

“We made too many errors and we let them jump on us early,” said Parkersburg skipper Alan Burns. “We made mistakes and they took advantage of it. That’s the difference in the ballgame.”

Warren, which plays host to Logan today, added a run in the third when Taylor doubled down the left field line, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on McAfee’s sacrifice fly to center to make it 5-0.

PHS (3-6) got its first hit of the game when Zach Shockey led off the top of the fourth with a double to left. He later scored on Alec Holbert’s single to make it 5-1. Holbert entered the game for Owen, who was pulled after two innings with an injury Burns said was “nothing serious, just making sure he was OK.”

Holbert finished the game on the mound for the Big Reds, throwing four frames and striking out five.

“Alec came in and did a really good job pitching after that,” Burns said.

Brayden Gerber led the bottom of the fourth off with an infield single. He went to second on Dalton Higgins’s sac bunt, to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch to make it 6-1.

Vincent took over for Taylor to start the fifth and plunked the first two batters he faced. Izek Baldwin then smashed a double to left field to make it 6-2.

Later, with the bases loaded and two outs, Holbert popped up but the ball was dropped to bring in Baldwin and make it 6-3. With PHS one swing away from potentially tying or taking the lead, Vincent got Drew Woofter to fly out to center to end the threat.

“After he kind of got through the nerves there he threw very well in the sixth and seventh. He did exactly what we needed him to do. He overcame a tough start and bulldogged through it.”

Taylor and Gandee both had two hits for Warren while McAfee, Gerber and Scott Reynolds all had one.

Shockey, Baldwin, Holbert and Jackson Vickers combined for Parkersburg’s four hits.

“They’re coming along,” Burns said of his club. “We’ve got five sophomores and a freshman starting. The future looks good, but we’ve got to grow up quick here. That’s the same boat Warren was in a few years ago. (Lemley) was starting quite a few sophomores and now they’re all seniors, so you get the fruits at that point. We’ve just got to keep building on this and make sure the kids get better every day.”

Warren is sitting at fifth in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference standings. The top four get into the tournament and the Warriors are currently half a point behind fourth-place Steubenville.

“We’ve won four in a row. As we’ve cleaned (the fielding) up, we’ve been winning a bunch of games. We split with South, beat Athens, beat Marietta, split with Wheeling Park. I feel like we’ve been playing some good baseball. We’re hoping to be hard to kill in the tournament.”

The Big Reds will look to rebound Thursday when they visit John Marshall.

“We gave them a few runs early, made some errors, and they made stuff happen, but we can’t start out that slow against a team like Warren,” Burns said.

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