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Barons start season 2-0
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
In baseball, if there’s a good place to have depth, the pitching staff is definitely that.
The Barons believe they do this spring.
And with three games in five days this week, it will certainly get tested.
So far, so good.
Coming off a solid outing by junior Andrew Bucher in a 7-3 non-league win over Warwick last Thursday, Manheim Central got another strong effort from Colin Fry on Monday as the Barons defeated ELCO 4-3 in the Section Three opener for both teams in Manheim.
Fry scattered five hits over six innings, while whiffing four and walking one.
Although the Barons (1-0 L-L, 1-1 overall) left numerous runners on base against Raiders’ pitchers Grant Fisher and Chris Kreider, Fry and Trey Eberly preserved the one-run win with error-free baseball behind them.
"In the first two games, we’ve only given up three runs and if you can do that, you can usually win a high school game," Central skipper Jason Thompson said. "I know our hitting will come around. I’m not worried about that."
After ELCO took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Central got one back in the bottom half. Leadoff batter Ben Bomberger was hit by a pitch, Fry worked a one-out walk, and Eberly laced an RBI single.
Chad Zunich’s RBI single in the third drove in Fry with the tying run and then Dan Wiederrecht scored on a passed ball in the fourth to put the Barons up 3-2.
The Raiders got the equalizer in the top of the sixth inning, but Wiederrecht’s one-out double, followed by J.J. Sanchez’s RBI double, delivered the game-winning run.
Eberly then pitched a scoreless inning in the seventh to earn the save.
The junior righty also pitched 1!-Einnings of one-hit scoreless ball against Warwick last Thursday to nail down Bucher’s win.
But the turning point in that game was in the second inning, when the Barons snapped a 1-1 tie by scoring three runs on four Warwick throwing errors behind Warriors’ starting pitcher Zach Hurst.
"I don’t know if we hit the ball out of the infield that jnning to score our runs, but you know what? That’s high school baseball," Thompson said. "If you can take advantage of somebody’s walks or mistakes or hit batters, you’ve got a pretty good chance of coming out with a ‘W.’"
Leading 4-1, the Barons added an insurance run in the top of the fifth when Fry smashed a one-hop drive off the right field fence and circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run. Fry’s first-inning one-out RBI double drove in Bomberger with the game’s first run. Overall, the Barons had just five hits, but Fry was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s to lead the way.
"We’ll get there eventually (with the offense)," Thompson said. "We only had five hits, so that was a little concerning. I was pleased though that we executed a couple bunts and we stole a couple bases, which all helps the offense when it’s struggling."
Bucher, who threw 94 pitches, scattered four hits through four innings, with Warwick’s only run scoring when Ben Keyser walked in the first inning and circled the bases when the Barons committed an outfield error on Tyler Morris’ base hit.
Wiederrecht showed his athleticism with the wind blowing out, tracking down four fly balls from his position in center field.
"He’s an incredible athlete," Thompson said. "He’s just so fast. If I was a pitcher and I knew I had Dan in center field, I’d be pretty happy with anything that’s hit from left-center to right-center that he can get to."
Bucher, a junior right-hander, then retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth, but Morris (3-for-4) tripled to center, Travis Reapsome ripped an RBI triple and Ian Hart delivered an RBI single to right field, cutting the Barons’ lead to 5-3.
Then following back-to-back two-out walks in the sixth, Eberly got the ball and pitched out of further trouble.
"(Bucher) wasn’t really on a pitch count," Thompson said. "Normally once they start getting close to 100, then I start looking to do something. There were times later on I could have pulled him maybe, but both the fifth and the sixth inning, he had two outs and I was like, ‘Alright, he just needs to get through one more out.’ Then that sixth inning, I finally pulled him after he got the first two outs."
Central added insurance runs on Bomberger’s RBI ground out in the sixth and Wiederrecht’s RBI triple in the seventh.
That was enough for Eberly, who closed it out while throwing 15 pitches.
"I really do trust (Trey) at the end of a game," Thompson said. "That’s what his role was last year and did a great job at it." More BARONS, page B-3