Mistakes, missed chances cost Warwick in L-L semis
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Warwick will never know what would have happened if Lancaster Catholic center fielder Steve Long hadn’t caught Tyler Morris’ shot into the right-center field gap in the top of the fourth inning on Monday.
The Warriors had just taken a 2-1 advantage and had the bases loaded when Long made the inning-ending robbery.
But that play looked big when the Section Four champion Crusaders scored five unearned runs over the final two innings, following two Warwick errors, and earned a 7-2 win in a Lancaster-Lebanon League quarter-final playoff game at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field.
"The ball that (Long) tracked down from Morris, I think that was as key a play as anything that happened in the game," Warwick coach Bob Locker said. "If he doesn’t get to that, we score at least two more runs. I don’t know what happens after that. But … we can’t mistakes. I told the kids, when you get to this level, there are no bad teams. The team that makes the fewest mistakes wins games. We left too many people on base, made some mistakes at inopportune moments and we kinda did this to ourselves."
Willy Burger went the distance for Lancaster Catholic (18-4) and struck out 10 while notching the win on 128 pitches. But Section One runner-up Warwick (15-7) also touched him for eight hits, while working five walks, and left 13 men on base in the game.
Told of his team’s number of LOB’s, Locker said, "Really? You can’t do that. In a nutshell, you’ve got to take advantage of stuff."
The Crusaders took advantage of a first-inning RBI double by Mac McCafferty (2-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBI’s) to grab a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning off of Warwick lefty pitcher Travis Reapsome.
Although the Warriors’ ace wasn’t as sharp as in previous outings this spring, walking five and giving up seven hits on 115 pitches in 5 @-E innings, he kept Warwick close. Following a one-out free pass in the second, he recorded back-to-back K’s for two of his five strikeouts.
Meanwhile, after Burger struck out the side in the first inning with a fastball touching 86 mph on the Ephrata scoreboard – and recorded six K’s in the first three frames – Warwick got their bats going.
In the fourth inning, Ian Hart (2-for-4) led off with a single over shortstop, Cody Kimmel slapped a base hit to left and Robert Gerofsky bounced an RBI single past second base to tie the game at 1-1.
"(Burger)’s got a live arm, but I thought we adjusted well," Locker said. "After the first time through, we made corrections. We put our bat on the ball."
After Seth Earle (3-for-4) reached on a swinging bunt single, Ben Keyser worked a two-out, seven-pitch walk to force in the go-ahead run. Then Long tracked down Morris’ hard-hit ball and Burger escaped further trouble.
"I thought the center fielder did a good job tracking it down," Locker said. "I think the wind played with it a little bit, but I thought it was a gapper. It’s a whole different outlook on things then."
As it was, it remained a 2-1 game and Catholic loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth on a walk and two singles. Chris Schreder scored the tying run on a wild pitch and then two more runs scored on a throwing error.
With Catholic up 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, McCafferty was able to come to the plate following a two-out Warwick fielding error and he turned on a 1-0 fastball from Reapsome, homering over the right field fence to give the Crusaders three insurance runs.
"They took advantage of all their base runners, we failed to," Locker said. "Simple as that."
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