Warriors’ State hopes denied in 9-3 loss to Governor Mifflin

By on June 3, 2015

 

Governor Mifflin shortstop Hunter Reeser holds up the ball while waiting for the umpire’s decision as Warwick’s Tyler Martin clings to the bag following his attempt to steal second in the third inning last Thursday. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Governor Mifflin shortstop Hunter Reeser holds up the ball while waiting for the umpire’s decision as Warwick’s Tyler Martin clings to the bag following his attempt to steal second in the third inning last Thursday. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Trailing 8-0 to Governor Mifflin through four innings last Thursday, Warwick needed a couple of big innings to get back into the game.

They got one, scoring three runs on three hits in the top of the fifth.

But that’s all the Warriors could muster.

Mifflin senior right-hander Tanner Campbell fired a complete-game six-hitter and the Mustangs earned an 9-3 victory to claim the third and final State berth in the District Three Quad-A brackets at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field.

With the loss, Warwick ended its season with an 18-6 record.

“I told the kids, ‘It’s very important to understand that you just won 18 baseball games and had a great year and it’s May 28th and we’re still playing ball and one win away from going to a State Tournament game,’” Warrior coach Bob Locker said “It’s a shame that we didn’t get to do it, but I told the kids, when this settles down a little bit, I hope you reflect upon the things that were positive and the fun we had playing baseball. I’m really going to miss the seniors. They’re good kids and they play baseball the right way, so I feel bad for them.”

For the second game in a row, it was one bad inning which put Warwick on its heels. In the District semi-finals, Chambersburg scored five runs in the fourth inning en route to a 6-1 victory. Mifflin struck for five in the second &tstr; two unearned &tstr; and never looked back.

“Like I said last time, you’re at a point now where you can’t have bad innings,” Locker said. “It’s not from a lack of effort, it’s not from a lack of desire. It just was a bad inning. That’s how it goes.”

Warrior starting pitcher Tim Griest stranded two on base in the first inning, but Mifflin came right back in the second. No. 6 hitter Earl Kochel led off with a single to center, Evan Pollock singled to left and both runners scored when Griest threw the ball past first on Hunter Reeser’s bunt.

Following back-to-back walks to load the bases, John Catchmark delivered an RBI single to right and Niko Hulsizer added a two-run single to left-center.

Hulsizer finished the day batting 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI’s out of the cleanup spot. Catchmark, Kochel and Pollock all added two hits apiece in the Mustangs’ 12-hit attack.

“(Hempfield coach Jeremy) Morrison (whose squad beat Miffllin 3-2 in the District semi-finals) said they hit the ball hard, they were a good hitting baseball team,” Locker said. “And they were. Up and down the lineup, they didn’t have any holes.”

Griest suffered the loss, yielding nine runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings while throwing 94 pitches. He struck out none and walked two.

The Mustangs added one in the third on Pollock’s leadoff triple and Reeser’s sac fly, and then they put two more on the board in the fourth courtesy of RBI singles from Eric Mock and Kochel.

Meanwhile, Campbell, who K’d two and walked three, handcuffed Warwick on just one hit through four frames. Then in the top of the fifth, Justin Smith worked a five-pitch walk, Tyler Martin singled to center, Thomas Elliot ripped an RBI base hit to drive in courtesy runner Nathan Hess and Luke Hackman sliced a two-run double to left, cutting the Mustangs’ lead to 8-3.

“(Campbell) kept us off-balance for awhile,” Locker said, “but like I said, it’s hard to come back from eight. We needed a couple of three, four-run innings and we only got the one.”

Hulsizer’s RBI double to left field added an insurance run for the Mustangs in the sixth.

In their final chance, the Warriors got a leadoff seven-pitch walk from Zach Peters in the top of the seventh, but Campbell retired the next three batters and that was the ball game.

Reflecting on the season, Locker was pleased with all that his players accomplished.

“If you look back and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to lose Elliot as a pitcher early on,’” Locker said, “if you look at the collective body of work our kids did and all the kids who contributed, I think it’s pretty fantastic. We had a whole bunch of pitchers who did what they needed to do. We had a lot of different lineups, we used a lot of kids and I think what they achieved was pretty cool.”

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