Warriors grab Section lead
Seth Earle hadn’t recalled whether or not he had faced Manheim Township pitcher Ryan Dornes prior to last Thursday’s game.
One thing’s for sure.
The Warwick senior will certainly remember digging in against the Blue Streak righty this time.
Earle fell just a double short of the cycle, going 4-for-4 with a triple, home run and five RBI’s, as the Warriors rallied from a 9-2 deficit to defeat their Section One rival 11-9 in Lititz.
“I was seeing the ball well,” Earle said. “Hopefully I can see (Dornes) some more.”
Certainly, Earle’s three-run blast over the right-field fence &tstr; his first varsity home run &tstr; was the key blow in Warwick’s eight-run rally in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Asked if he knew right away that he got all of it, Earle said, “Not at first, but once I saw the right fielder kinda give up on it … I was halfway between first and second, and then I got around the bases real quick.”
As the L-L League slate enters the home stretch, Warwick would love for Earle to stay hot. Following up their win over Township with a 3-0 shutout of Penn Manor last Friday and a 4-3 win against Cedar Crest on Monday, the Warriors find themselves holding a 10-3 league record (11-5 overall). Combined with the Comets’ 5-3 loss to Township on Monday, Warwick is two games in front of Penn Manor (8-5 L-L) and Cedar Crest (8-5), who are tied for second, with three games left.
Although they had an 11-1 non-league clunker vs. Manheim Central last Saturday, the Section title is still in sight for the Warriors.
“There’s no guarantees,” Warwick coach Bob Locker said, “but at least we’ve done our work to this point in terms of giving us a chance at it.”
Warwick had their work cut out for themselves after the Streaks capitalized on sloppy defensive play to extend their lead to 9-2 with a six-run rally in the top of the fourth. Dan Vucovich had two hits in the inning, including a two-run single to left.
Although Township didn’t hit the ball hard in the inning, they hit it to the right spots.
“They ran the bases well and made us execute some things that we didn’t quite handle,” Locker said. “But then we turned around and did what we needed to do. They kids didn’t quit. I thought they made really good adjustments the second and third time through against Dornes. We started to hit his curve ball and we just hit the ball.”
A couple of Township fielding errors on grounders by Matt Cover and Tommy Garner (2-for-4) opened the door. Ben Keyser’s (3-for-4) infield hit loaded the bases and then Dornes appeared to be out of trouble when Travis Reapsome (2-for-3) lofted an infield pop fly. The ball fell between two fielders, however, allowing courtesy runner Michael Perezous and Garner to score.
Earle was next and he smashed a 1-2 pitch from Dornes over the fence in right field to make it 9-7.
“Just trying to get runs across the plate because that’s all we needed at that moment,” Earle said. “(Coach Todd) Smoker told us to lay off the curves because he was throwing that a lot first pitch and then just try to get a fastball you liked.”
Derek Acaley and Drew Keller then worked back-to-back walks, Cover delivered an RBI single and then Garner’s two-run triple to right-center gave the Warriors a lead they never relinquished. Overall, the Blue Streaks had three errors in the inning.
In the fifth, Keyser tripled and scored on Reapsome’s RBI single to put Warwick up 11-9, and that was all they needed. Cover, who pitched in relief of Adam Rohrbach, gave up just one walk while striking out two in 2!-E innings to get the win. Lefty Luke Hackman walked two batters in the seventh, but eventually picked up the save.
“A, any Section game we win is important, and B, Township speaks for itself,” Locker said. “Our kids enjoy beating them. I think our kids enjoy beating them in anything, so that was huge.”
On Monday, Warwick trailed Cedar Crest 3-1 going into their final at-bats, then rallied for three runs and won 4-3 on Zimmerman’s walk-off walk.
Consecutive singles by Keyser, Reapsome, Earle and Acaley got the rally started. Following a fielder’s choice by Hackman, Luke Mariano walked to load the bases. One out later, Zimmerman worked a free pass from Conor Bawiec to send the Warriors home with the win.
Hackman pitched two innings in relief of Thomas Elliot to record the win.
Last Friday, riding the momentum from their win over the Blue Streaks, Warwick got six strong innings from lefty ace Reapsome and knocked off Penn Manor 3-0 in a battle of Section co-leaders.
Despite playing in a steady rain, the two teams started the seventh inning. The Comets rallied for four runs in the top half of the frame to go in front 4-3 before play was halted with two outs. The score reverted to the previous full inning and Warwick took home a 3-0 victory in a controversial finish.
“(The umpires) called the field unplayable,” Locker said.
That game marked the return of Reapsome, who had a nine-day rest since taking the decision in a 7-2 loss to Solanco on April 25. In six innings, he allowed only two hits while striking out eight and walking four. Reapsome finished with 95 pitches.
“He had a little bit of arm fatigue, so we held off using him again (after the Solanco loss) and he went out and threw a great game,” Locker said, “so that was a real positive sign for us.”
Penn Manor’s Cody Simet pitched great in his own right, but Warwick took the lead in the first inning on Grant Zimmerman’s leadoff hit, Ian Hart’s sacrifice and Reapsome’s RBI single. Reapsome helped his own cause by going 2-for-3 in the game. Perezous also chipped in with two hits.
Acaley walked and scored on a wild pitch in the second inning to make it 2-0 and then Reapsome singled and scored Warwick’s third run on Keller’s sac fly to right in the bottom of the sixth.
Last Wednesday, April 23, Thomas Elliot went 2-for-3 and pitched 6!-E innings for the decision, as the Warriors defeated Cocalico 5-1 in Denver.
In non-league action on Saturday between back-yard rivals, Manheim Central broke open a 3-1 game with four runs in the fourth and fifth innings, leading them to an 11-1 win over Warwick.
The Warriors mustered only four hits off of Baron pitcher Dan Wiederrecht, who tossed a five-inning complete game for the win.