Warriors’ offense erupts in 11-1 rout of Mustangs

By on March 27, 2019
Warwick senior first baseman Ethan Heller (10) stretches for a throw to get Governor Mifflin’s Kobe Cabret in last Saturday’s game. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick senior first baseman Ethan Heller (10) stretches for a throw to get Governor Mifflin’s Kobe Cabret in last Saturday’s game. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Heller collects team-high three RBI

Batting seventh in the lineup, Ethan Heller expects to see plenty of first-pitch fastballs.

Last Saturday, the Warwick senior got exactly that in the bottom of the first inning.

Then after his foul fly ball landed just beyond the reach of Governor Mifflin outfielder Jacob Gelvin at wind-swept Warrior Field, Heller got another one.

With his second chance, the Mustangs paid.

Stroking a two-out bases loaded two-run base hit to center field, Heller made it 3-0 and the Warriors never looked back, cruising to an 11-1 win in their non-league opener in Lititz.

“Two-out RBIs are a key to winning games. That was a big spot there and I’m happy that I could come through with a hit,” said Heller, who finished 2-of-3 with three RBI.

The game was halted after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule. By the time Warwick ended it on Brendan Martin’s RBI single to left in the bottom of the fifth, the Warriors had collected 12 hits off of Governor Mifflin pitchers Tristan Kochel, Alex Scheidt, and Payton Spiers.

“Good start to the season,” Heller said.

“I think we’ll have a fairly potent lineup from one to nine,” Warrior coach Bob Locker said. “It doesn’t matter what part of the lineup is up, they’re all capable of hitting and scoring runs.”

Colby Martin, Josh Farina, Dagen Young, Heller and Jeffrey Kline had two hits apiece to lead the attack. Young also picked up two RBI, in addition to pitching two perfect innings to start the game.

Kochel wasn’t quite as sharp toeing the rubber for the Mustangs. Colby Martin led off the home half of the first with a single, then Farina and John Seibert were plunked by pitches, loading the bases.

A strikeout — Warwick’s second out of the frame — gave Kochel hope to escape. But Brendan Martin became his third HBP victim, forcing in a run. Heller was next, and his fly ball to right, amid the swirling winds, fell untouched in foul territory.

“We talked to the kids today about this being one of those days where you could lose a game as opposed to win it by making mistakes,” Locker said. “It’s windy. That ball dropped, Ethan got a second chance and took advantage of it.”

Indeed, he did.

On Kochel’s next pitch, Heller shot a single back through the middle and it was 3-0.

“First two pitches, same exact thing (fastball),” he said. “I had to take advantage of the second one.”

“That was big. It kinda got things rolling,” Locker said. “You don’t want to come up with an inning when it was bases loaded and not play a couple, that was a big lift for us.”

They got another lift in the second when Mifflin again struggled with the winds, this time allowing Kline to reach base on an infield pop up that fell. Then with one out, Farina laced an RBI triple into the right-center field gap.

“(Josh) is fast. He’s a good hitter,” Locker said. “Once you know it’s a gapper, you can pretty much guarantee he’d be on third.”

Farina wasn’t on third for long, however, as Young added an RBI single to make it 5-0.

Evan Rohrbach and Colin Brubaker followed Young to the mound for the final three innings. Mifflin got its first base runner in the top of the third, on Kolbie Reeser’s hit by pitch, and the Mustangs went on to load the bases on a walk and fielder’s choice. But Rohrbach ended the threat with a fly out to center field.

“(The pitchers) did great,” Heller said. “They were throwing strikes and minimized the walks. We had an inning or two with a couple of walks, but they came through and made pitches when it mattered.”

Meanwhile, Warwick tacked on two more runs in the third on Colby Martin’s RBI infield single and a Mustang fielding error, extending the lead to 7-0.

Nate Cox’s RBI double got the Mustangs on the board in the fourth inning, then Heller answered with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, putting the Warriors in control with an 8-1 lead.

Three runs on four hits in the fifth inning finally ended it for the Warriors. Young, Seibert and Brendan Martin all stepped up with RBI base hits to clinch Warwick’s first win of the season.

“Continuing to put up shutout innings on the defensive side and then putting up a couple of runs every time we’re up to bat, it’s hard to lose a game when you do that,” Heller said.

 

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