Warwick 50/70 team wins District 23 crown
For a Warwick team which had scored 35 runs in its previous two games, last Thursday night wasn’t one of their better offensive outputs.
Give a lot of that credit to Octorara left-hander Alex Lantz and the savvy of manager Joe Dagney.
Warwick, though, still did enough to win.
Billy Quinn was 3-for-4 with two RBI’s and a save in relief of Adam Wiernicki, who recorded nine K’s while pitching six-plus strong innings, leading Warwick’s Intermediate 50/70 team over Octorara 6-4 for the District 23 crown at the Wilbur complex in Lititz.
“It’s great,” Warwick skipper Chris Weiler remarked. “Last year we did it down in Solanco and it’s a totally different group of guys pretty much this year and to win it at home is a good thing. It’s good to win it at home in front of all the Warwick fans, all the Warwick 9, 10, 11, and 12 year old kids that are in the tournament coming up. It gives them something to look forward to as well.”
Octorara was looking forward to trying to avenge a 17-10 loss to Warwick in opening-round action. Dagney, whose squad advanced to the finals with an 11-8 win over Solanco, had a card up his sleeve by putting Lantz on the hill.
“I’ve got a lot of lefties in my (batting order) and he threw his best lefty tonight against us and kept our kids off balance,” Weiler said. “Typically we’re a better hitting team than what we showed tonight.”
Wiernicki and Lantz matched wits in a 1-1 pitchers dual through three innings.
Warwick took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Quinn singled and scored on Carson Garland’s (2-for-3, 2 RBI’s) groundout, and then Octorara answered in the bottom half, capitalizing on the speed of Jakob Kettner, who beat out a bunt single, stole second and third, then scored on a wild pitch.
Wiernicki scattered four hits, while walked just one and hit a batter on 87 pitches, while Lantz K’d 10, walked one and allowed six hits in 4@-E innings.
“(Adam)’s always around the strike zone, he throws hard, the kids can’t keep up with his speed,” Weiler said. “He’s probably the most consistent pitcher we have as far as throwing strikes.”
In the top of the fourth, Wiernicki and his mates got a lead they never relinquished. Ezra Musser doubled to left-center and later scored on a sharp single to right by Quinn, who was hitting sixth. Quinn’s run on Garland’s RBI single made it 3-1.
Quinn normally batted in the No. 4 four spot, but Weiler flip-flopped him and Musser for the game.
“(Billy) was struggling a little bit and I thought maybe he’d see some better pitches if I dropped him down a bit lower,” Weiler said. “I know he’s a good hitter, I know he can drive the ball hard so I was hoping for him to see better pitches.”
Quinn was in the middle of things again in the top of the fifth, stroking an RBI single to left to drive in Musser, who hit a Texas League single to shallow right, putting Warwick in front 5-1. Earlier in the inning, Chris Gyles reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
They added their sixth run on Garland’s leadoff single and Josh Weaver’s RBI fielder’s choice.
Octorara, though, made it interesting, putting two runs on the board in the home half of the sixth, as Josh Budzik hit an RBI ground out and Jude Unitis singled and scored on a wild pitch.
Then in its final at-bats, Corey Hudorovich was hit by a pitch leading off and scored on a throwing error. After Quinn K’d back-to-back batters, Octorara brought the potential tying run to the plate following an errant throw on a bunt put a runner at third base. Leadoff batter Robbie Koennecker was next and unfortunately couldn’t finish his at-bat after fouling a ball off his ankle. Jacob Smith inherited an 0-2 count and Quinn eventually ended it with a K.
“I wasn’t too worried,” Weiler said. “Typically our defense is pretty solid and we played good tonight.’
That’s been par for the course on their home field.
“They knew coming into it and I told (our players), ‘This is our home field, we’ve played well here all year long and we’ve got to win,’” Weiler said. “They came out to win. They played solid.”
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.