Warriors drop nine-inning heartbreaker to Athens in district final
Sophomore center fielder Peyton Gail’s two-out, two-run double to right-center in the bottom of the ninth inning enabled second-seeded Athens High to defeat the eighth-seeded Warriors, 5-4, Wednesday night at Bob Wren Stadium on the campus of Ohio University.
“Give that kid (Gail) credit,” said WHS skipper Ryan Lemley. “He went down and got a pitch that was out and away.”
Warren senior reliever Drew Huffman, the winning pitcher in last Thursday’s sectional triumph over Marietta High, suffered the mound setback. Brett Gandee started and pitched four innings for the Warriors (19-7).
“Drew came in and did a good job,” Lemley said. “We just didn’t get it done.”
AHS reliever Reece Wallace got the win. Nate Trainer started and threw 6.2 innings for the Bulldogs (21-6).
The extra-inning game featured four lead changes and two ties before Athens won it.
“It was a good game and a lot of fun,” Lemley said.
Warren staked itself to a 1-0 advantage in the top of the second when senior left fielder Noah Edgell singled home freshman third baseman Hunter Vincent.
In the bottom half of the frame, Athens tied the score 1-all with Gail plating a run on a fielder’s choice.
The Warriors regained the lead, 2-1, in the fourth on Edgell’s run-scoring single to center.
On the hit, Vincent, who had walked, scored his second run of the game.
Athens chased Gandee in the top of the fifth when Athens’ Andrew Stephens singled and legged it home on Trainer’s double to left. The southpaw-throwing Huffman was greeted with a single by Rece Lonas, but Trainer stopped at third.
Next up, Jack Cornwell got Trainer home on a fielder’s choice, and the Dogs took their first lead of the contest, 3-2.
Warren tied the game a second time (3-3) in the top of the seventh inning when with two outs Gandee singled home Brayden Gerber.
In the bottom half of the frame, Huffman pitched himself out of a little jam with AHS runners on third and second to send the game into extra innings.
The Warriors made it 5-4 in the top of the ninth when again Gandee drove in Gerber with a hit.
Huffman got the first Bulldog on a strikeout in the bottom half of the frame, but then gave up a single and issued two walks to load the bases. Bearing down, he slipped a called third strike past Aiden Kostival for the second out.
Stepping into the batter’s box was the right-handed-swinging Gail, who was caught looking at strike 3 in his previous at-bat against Huffman.
But not this time.
“Athens is a good ball team,” Lemley said.