Elliot, Warriors take down Ephrata
Sometimes, what you are looking for was right under your nose all along.
That was the case for Warwick and sophomore righty pitcher Thomas Elliot. In need of extra starting pitching due to the plethora of games recently, the Warriors sent Elliot, a reliever all year, to the mound Monday night at Ephrata in a key crossover game between a pair of L-L League contenders.
And in his first varsity start of the season, Elliot spun a beauty against one of the hottest teams in the league. After allowing a run and four hits over the first two innings, Elliot settled in and held Ephrata hitless over the next four frames before handing things over to reliever Luke Hackman, who pitched a scoreless seventh.
Offensively, Warwick’s bats came alive in the latter innings after a slow start against Ephrata junior Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish, overcoming a 1-0 deficit with a deluge of late production with the sticks.
Seth Earle’s two-run double in the top of the fourth gave the Warriors the lead, and Warwick tacked on in every inning the rest of the way en route to an eventual 7-1 victory over the Mounts.
With the win, Warwick, which collected 14 hits Monday, takes over sole possession of first place in Section One, ahead of both Penn Manor (5-2) and Cedar Crest (4-2).
While the Warwick offense certainly did its part, the story on this night was Elliot, who allowed just the four early hits while striking out six and walking four in his impressive six innings of work for the victory.
“We threw him in relief last week and he did a good job,” Warwick Coach Bob Locker said of the sophomore hurler. “The way things lined up we thought we’d take a shot tonight and see what he could do as a starter. And that was a pretty tremendous baseball game he played. He got stronger the last two innings. The curveball was much more effective and he started popping the ball a little bit. That was nice.”
As impressive as the win was for Warwick, all was not lost for Ephrata, which had its five-game winning streak snapped. By virtue of Solanco’s 6-3 setback to ManheimTownship Monday, the Mounts (6-2 overall) and Mules remain tied atop Section Two standings at 5-2.
“You are going to have nights like this so you got to learn from them,” Ephrata Coach Adrian Shelley said.
Ephrata jumped out on top 1-0 with an unearned run in the bottom of the second when Josh Gehman walked and was later ruled safe at home on a first-and-third play when Warwick catcher Ian Hart dropped the ball while applying the tag on Gehman. The Warriors avoided further trouble when Ben Keyser fielded Anthony Embiscuso’s infield hit and nailed Brandon Schwark at the plate to end the inning.
It appeared at least early on that the one run may be all that Ephrata would need. Fogarty-Harnish got through the Warwick lineup once without much difficulty, but the young right-hander ran into trouble in the top of the fourth when Keyser and Hart led off the inning with back-to-back singles.
Warwick’s clean-up hitter Travis Reapsome then gave himself up, laying down a sacrifice to move the runners to second and third. And the move paid off one batter later when right-fielder Seth Earle delivered a two-run double to give the Warriors the lead at 2-1.
A lead-off single by Elliot to start the fifth would end Fogarty-Harnish’s night, and courtesy runner Michael Perezous eventually came around to score when Keyser, who had three hits, ripped an RBI single off Mount reliever Matt McGillan for a key insurance run.
Reapsome would double and score a sixth-inning run off an RBI hit by Derek Acaley (3-for-4) to make it 4-1, before Warwick broke it open with four hits and three more runs in the seventh off McGillan and Dylan Good, who entered the game earlier in the frame.
“The last three or four games we’ve really started to hit the ball,” Locker said of his offensive attack. “We got off to a slow start offensively, but we’ve started to hit the ball better lately. The kids started making some adjustments and are hitting the ball better…I thought they did a nice job the second time around tonight.”
“Warwick hit up and down the lineup and they became increasingly tougher outs as the game wore on,” he said. “Due to the fact that we couldn’t really power pitch them, I thought (the Warriors) deserved a lot of credit for their approach after the first three and a half frames.”
Despite all of the Warwick hits, Ephrata remained in the game for most of the way. The Mounts did threaten in the fifth with two runners aboard and two outs. However, Colin Albright’s fly ball to left was snagged by a diving Warwick left-fielder Grant Zimmerman to end the threat.
Elliot, who had 19 first-pitch strikes out of 24 batters faced on the night, set down the Mounts in order in the sixth before Hackman came in to close the door with an uneventful bottom of the seventh.
“We are really happy with the fact that we’ve been talking to the kids about trying to play better games,” Locker said. “We were a little sloppy the first couple games out. We just keep talking about trying to get better every game and do a good job improving things that need improving, and this was the best defensive game we’ve play all year. I thought our kids made some nice plays, and I thought our baserunning was very good. We did a nice job of trail running, we took advantage of some things so it was nice to see some kids continue to improve.”
Fogarty-Harnish, who allowed three runs on eight hits without a walk nor a strikeout, was tagged with the loss.
Last Friday, Ben Keyser was 2-for-2 with a triple and three RBI’s as the Warriors routed Lebanon 15-0 in a Section One-Two crossover game. Grant Zimmerman chipped in with two hits and a team-high three runs, while Travis Reapsome and Derek Acaley added two base knocks apiece, helping Warwick (4-1 L-L, 5-2 overall) invoke the mercy rule after three innings.
Drew Keller allowed just one hit and picked up the victory on the hill.
In other action, Warwick rallied from a 7-2 deficit to defeat Hempfield 9-8 in a Section One battle in Lititz last Thursday. Tommy Garner, Luke Hackman, Adam Rohrbach, Keyser and Ian Hart all finished with two hits to lead the Warriors’ offense.
Of Warwick’s 14 hits off of Black Knight pitchers Michael Hernandez, Derek Manning and Wyatt Miller, eight were doubles.
The Warriors took a 9-8 lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth and then Thomas Elliot pitched a scoreless seventh to nail it down. Elliot pitched 2!-E innings for the win in relief of Travis Reapsome and Hackman.
Last Wednesday, April 9, Hart was 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI’s and three runs, helping Warwick outscore McCaskey 16-11 in a wild Section One game in Lititz.
Zimmerman and Seth Earle both went 2-for-4 and starter Rohrbach pitched four innings for the win.
The Warriors took a 7-2 lead through two, then weather a rally by the Red Tornado. who pulled even with four runs in the top of the fourth. But Warwick took the lead for good with eight in the bottom of the fourth inning.