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Warriors take sole possession of first place
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Legendary Baltimore Orioles’ manager Earl Weaver once said that, "The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three-run homers."
With that philosophy, he certainly would have enjoyed the power display from Warwick’s baseball team last week.
In four games, the Warriors scored 47 runs.
That included two home runs and nine extra-base hits last Friday, as the Warriors won their fourth game in five days in an 18-13 Section One slugfest against cross-town rival Manheim Township in Neffsville.
"We’re not a small ball team and we’re not going to steal a ton of bases," Warwick coach Bob Locker said. "But we hit well. I think our balance, right-handed and left-handed hitting, makes it tough for some teams. And I think that’s the potential we have is to be a good hitting baseball team."
Their fourth-straight win enabled them to take a two-game lead on Manheim Township atop the Section One standings.
"We told the kids, ‘Don’t get too high, don’t get too low,’" Locker said. "We talked about, it’s not where you start, it’s where you end. It’s nice to get up, it’s nice to get out to a 5-2 record, 3-0 in the Section. You want to win baseball games. But we’re only seven games into the season and we’ve got some things to work on. We really do."
Warwick’s win over Township, combined with their 8-2 win over McCaskey on Monday and Hempfield’s 5-4 loss to the Blue Streaks, improved the Warriors’ record to 4-0 in league (6-2 overall) and gave them sole possession of first place in the Section One standings.
Zach Hurst threw 90 pitches over seven innings for the win, while Ben Keyster finished 3-for-5 and Ian Hart was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s to help lead the offense against Red Tornados pitcher Lazaro Duvergel.
Last Friday, junior Adam Rohrbach — the second of four pitchers used by the Warriors — got the win in relief of Travis Reapsome, who also pitched a 6-0 shutout against Penn Manor last Monday. Rohrbach threw scoreless ball for 2 1/3 innings in the win over Township, yielding three hits while whiffing two.
The game plan against the Blue Streaks was to go pitcher-by-committee, and it worked out for the Warriors.
"They’re a really good hitting baseball team. We kinda knew that coming in," Locker said. "We were hurting pitching-wise having four games this week, not having (Brady) Weiler and (Robert) Gerofsky available to pitch this week. We knew we were going to try to patch together a game using three or four pitchers for two, three innings at the most and then see what we could do. It kinda went the way it was supposed to."
It didn’t hurt that the Warriors’ offense also went the way it was supposed to. They greeted Streaks’ starter Jordan Draude by having their first five batters all connect for base hits. After Zach Hurst (3-for-6, 2 runs) tripled, Ben Keyser (2-for-6) stroked an RBI single to right-center, Tyler Morris (3-for-6, 3 RBI’s, 4 runs) followed with a run-scoring triple to right-center, Reapsome smashed an RBI double to left, and Ian Hart (2-for-4, 4 runs) added an RBI double to right to make it 5-0.
Overall, the Warriors had 22 hits in the game off of five Blue Streak pitchers, and Reapsome’s two-run double to right-center in the second chased Draude and helped Warwick take an 8-1 advantage. Reapsome finished 5-of-6 with three doubles and four RBI’s out of the cleanup hole for the Warriors.
"He’s been hitting the ball well — that’s why he’s our four-hitter," Locker said. "With Morris in front of him, that helps him. That protects him a little bit. I also think our five hitter Hart has been doing a fantastic job, so when you go 3-4-5 in our lineup, it’s tough."
Township, though, didn’t go quietly. Ian Eriksson’s (2-for-4) bases-loaded walk and DH Carter Krick’s RBI single to right in the bottom of the second cut Warwick’s lead to 8-3. The damage could have been worse, but Rohrbach pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the second and third innings.
The Warriors threatened to invoke the 10-run rule as Morris’ bad-hop inside-the-park home run and Gerofsky’s three-run blast over the 360-foot sign in right-center boosted their lead to 14-3. But Township extended it with three in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by Eriksson’s two-run single off of Morris.
Derek Acaley (2-for-4) answered with a two-run single in the sixth and Garret High’s triple and Reapsome’s RBI double in the top of the seventh inning made it 18-10.
Manheim Township then scored three runs in the bottom half and had two runners on base, but Caleb Metzler got Eriksson on a game-ending fly out to finally end it.
The Warriors were also in action last Wednesday, April 3, when they capitalized on an eight-run fourth-inning outburst to lead them to a 10-4 conquest of Cedar Crest in a Section One game in Lititz.
Hurst started and got the decision, recording five K’s with just one walk. Ryan Braundmeier finished it out of the bullpen.
In Monday’s win over McCaskey, Seth Earle and Kyle Maguire added two hits apiece in support of Hurst, who gave up just two runs — both unearned — on three hits and two walks. He struck out three.
Last Tuesday, April 2, the Warriors came from behind to outscore Lampeter-Strasburg 13-10 in a non-league game in Lititz.
The Warriors trailed 6-0 early and 8-4 going to the bottom of the fifth inning. But they responded with five in the bottom of the fifth and four in the sixth to grab a lead they never relinquished.
Rohrbach earned the win in relief duty. More WARRIORS, page B-2