Defense costs Warwick in losses to Donegal, L-S

By on March 28, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Photo by Preston Whitcraft
Warwick junior base runner Robert Gerofsky looks to avoid the tag from Donegal shortstop Chris Robinson while trying to advance on an error during the Warrriors' non-league opener last Friday.

Twice, Warwick rallied from a three-run hole against Lampeter-Strasburg on Monday.

And twice, the Warriors pulled even.

Ultimately, though, six errors were too much for them to overcome, as the Pioneers snapped a 6-6 tie with a five-run rally in the top of the seventh inning and defeated Warwick 11-6 in a non-league game in Lititz.

That, coupled with a 12-7 loss to Donegal last Friday in a game they committed three errors, dropped Warwick’s early record to 0-2.

"Whenever you give them additional chances, it comes back to bite you," Warwick coach Matt Gale said. "It’s just tight spots that we couldn’t get out of, errors, mental mistakes, throwing the ball around — and then on top of the errors, just not making plays that we need to make in key spots with guys in scoring position. Somebody’s got to stop the bleeding and somebody’s got to step up and make a play during those times and we just couldn’t do it."

They will get help this week with the return of two starting players — catcher Brian Eshleman and second baseman Chris Wentzel — and shortstop Derrick Shields is getting closer to returning from a shoulder injury sustained in the pre-season.

But Gale acknowledges that their games this week against LMH (Wednesday) and Manheim Central on Friday are taking on extra importance for his squad.

"Last year we went 2-2 in non-leagues, although it wasn’t the first two that we lost," Gale said. "We came back and had a strong season. So if we can come back and win two here and then kinda find our groove and hit stride by the time we get into Section play, I think we can definitely bounce back. And also these are two tough Section Three teams."

Fielding a lineup consisting of three Division-I players, L-S spotted starting pitcher Ray Lopez a 3-0 first inning lead off of Warwick pitcher Travis Reapsome, who threw 25 of his 103 pitches and gave up three of his six hits in the opening frame. John Jabour and Matt McCrudden (3-for-4) had RBI singles and Lopez added an RBI ground out.

But after four of L-S’ first five batters reached base, Reapsome settled into a groove and retired 11 of the next 12 that he faced, with six of his seven K’s.

That gave the Warriors a chance to rally, which they did in the third when Lopez walked the bases loaded with one out. Then Tyler Morris (2-for-4) hit a sharp grounder through the legs of L-S third baseman Colton Stoltzfus, allowing two runs to score and cutting the Pioneers’ lead to 3-2.

Then in the fourth, Cody Kimmel stroked a two-out double to right and Ian Hart followed with an RBI single off the glove of diving second baseman Jabour.

"We’ve seen some good things from our pitchers, enough so that there’s some promise that I think we can put together some defensive innings and keep teams in the single digits," Gale said. "We’ve given up two crooked numbers now. But on the flip side, I think the positive to take away is we’ve put up seven and six runs so far. We’re able to hit the ball, but we’ve got to clean up the defense."

That defense came into play in the top of the fifth, as Warwick committed two errors and L-S sent nine men to the plate and went up 6-3. But the Warriors got one back in the bottom of the inning when Zack Hurst scored on Ben Keyser’s double-play grounder, and Shields’ two-run single in the sixth tied it 6-6.

But the Warriors had two more errors in the seventh, and Brett Brooks’ sac fly and Dan Neff’s two-run double highlighted the Pioneers’ game-winning rally.

Darrinkamp chipped in with a 2-for-4 day at the plate to help lead the Pioneers’ nine-hit attack off of Reapsome and Braidy Weiler, who pitched two innings in relief and took the loss. Brooks, who took the ball from Lopez to start the fifth, got the victory. Brooks and Lopez combined to allow seven hits.

In Warwick’s non-league opener last Friday, Zack Hurst and Ben Keyser had three hits apiece and the Warriors took a 5-2 lead on Donegal through five innings, but the Indians rallied for 10 runs in the final two frames to pull out a 12-7 victory in Lititz.

Donegal sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the sixth, collecting six hits off of pitchers Tyler Morris and Hurst and scoring six runs to take a lead they never lost.

Morris pitched 5 2/3 innings and took the loss, scattering 10 hits while walking three and striking out four. Donegal’s Thomas Hatt picked up the win in relief of Adam Frey and Michael Houseal.

Trailing 2-1 early, the Warriors capitalized on Keyser’s RBI double and Korey Johnson’s sac fly to take their first lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the second inning. Then Keyser and Johnson delivered run-scoring singles in the third to push their lead to 5-2. Derrick Shields was 2-for-4 to help lead Warwick’s offense.

But Chris Robinson’s two-run double highlighted Donegal’s six-run outburst in the top of the sixth which put the Indians up 8-5. Robinson finished 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and three runs scored and Dylan Houseal was 3-for-5 with two RBI’s to lead Donegal.

Braidy Weiler’s two-run double to left-center in the bottom of the sixth got Warwick back within one, but the Indians tacked on four against relievers Caleb Metzler and Weiler in the seventh to put it out of reach. Donegal’s Ryan Drace got things started by reaching on one of Warwick’s three errors. More WARRIORS, page B-5

About lititzrecord