Warriors win third straight

By on April 25, 2018
Manheim Central shortstop Drew Mummau takes a strong throw from catcher Garrett Bruckhart and tags out Annville-Cleona base runner Tyler Long trying to steal second base in Monday’s game. Photo by Alan Johnson

Manheim Central shortstop Drew Mummau takes a strong throw from catcher Garrett Bruckhart and tags out Annville-Cleona base runner Tyler Long trying to steal second base in Monday’s game. Photo by Alan Johnson

The situation called for a fastball.

Warwick senior pitcher Justin Byler — looking to escape a two-out, two-on jam in the top of the fifth inning — worked the count full against Elizabethtown shortstop Austin Denlinger.

Instead, Byler went off-speed.

And his seventh, and final strikeout, of the game preserved the Warriors’ 6-1 lead.

“I definitely have a lot of confidence in my off-speed — at times more than my fastball,” Byler said. “So it’s a little backwards.”

It was all part of a quality start by the University of Delaware recruit, who notched his first win of the season to lead Warwick in a 7-5 victory over the Section Two first-place Bears in Lititz last Friday.

That decision, coupled with an 8-2 win over Conestoga Valley on Monday, improved the Warriors’ record to 5-4 L-L (5-5 overall), one game behind Section One leader Cedar Crest (6-3 L-L). Warwick has now won three straight and four of its last five.

“We’ve got to try to keep pace in Section One if we want to thing about qualifying for League playoffs and trying to get to Districts,” Warwick skipper Bob Locker said. “We put ourselves in an 0-3 hole after the first three games, and since then, I think we’ve gotten a lot better and we do some things well right now.”

Warwick carried a 7-1 lead into the top of the seventh, only to see the Bears claw back within two and load the bases with two outs. But reliever Colin Brubaker whiffed E-town’s Solen Clark to end it.

“That was a good comeback on Colin’s part,” Locker said. “You’ve got to breathe, worry about the batter and he did a good job.”

Ditto for Byler, who yielded just one earned run on two hits and four walks in five innings.

“By far (my best outing),” the 6-foot-4 righty said. “Our team definitely got off to a slow start, but we’ve been hot lately. We’ve been swinging the bats well, the defense has been playing well, so it’s always easier to pitch with the lead and when you have a good defense behind you.”

Warwick got the bats going in the first inning off of Bears’ starter Nick Kreider. Bryce Zimmerman (2-for-4) and Brendan Martin (2-for-4) led off with base hits and Zimmerman scored on a wild pitch. After Dagen Young walked, Byler hit a sac fly to center and then Evan Clark added an RBI fielder’s choice, putting the Warriors up 3-0.

Although the red-and-black stranded four on base through the first two frames, Warwick tacked on two more runs in the third. Clark walked, Jeffrey Kline singled, and Ryan Aukamp had a two-out base hit to load the bases. Next, Zimmerman served a two-run single to left off of Elizabethtown reliever Ryan Rupp to make it 5-0.

“Bryce is a great leadoff hitter,” Locker said. “He’s got a good eye. He takes the ball where it’s pitched, gets walks and does a lot of things well.”

Meanwhile, Byler limited the Bears to just one hit — a third-inning leadoff single by by Solen Clark — heading into the fourth. He threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 20 batters he faced.

“(Justin) did a great job today,” Locker said. “He kept them off-balance, he threw enough breaking balls for strikes that they couldn’t sit on anything, and the fastball had a little bit of pop to it and he hits his spots and he gave us a real good outing. Anytime we can get five innings from our starter right now, we’re usually pretty happy.”

The Bears got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth on Kreider’s RBI fielder’s choice, but Josh Farina’s RBI single in the bottom of that inning gave the Warriors a 6-1 lead.

“Farina’s just been hot,” Locker said. “He’s just hitting the ball.”

After reliever Collin Beech pitched a scoreless sixth, the Warriors added what turned out to be a key insurance run in the bottom of the inning, as Byler was hit by a pitch and scored on an error.

In their final at-bats, the Bears worked four free passes from the Warriors and made things interesting when Denlinger delivered a two-run single, Chad Caley hit an RBI ground out and Denlinger scored on a wild pitch, cutting Warwick’s lead to 7-5. But Brubaker’s K finally sealed the win.

 

*****

On Monday, Brendan Martin pitched six innings for the win and John Seibert was 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Warriors in their 6-2 victory over Conestoga Valley in Witmer.

Ryan Aukamp also had two RBIs in the win.

*****

Last Wednesday, Jeffrey Kline’s RBI single in the top of the ninth inning scored Josh Farina, who tripled, and snapped an 8-8 tie, leading the Warriors to a 9-8 victory over Ephrata at the Mounts’ War Memorial Field.

Colby Martin pitched four innings in relief to get the win and catcher Ryan Aukamp picked off an Ephrata runner at first base for the final out. Martin K’d five and walked two.

Evan Clark, Farina, and Brendan Martin each had three hits, as Warwick scored five in the fifth to grab a 6-1 lead. Clark had had two RBI, while Farina stroked two triples and scored three runs.

Although Warwick outhit the Mounts 14-3, Ephrata got two runs back in the fifth and then took the lead with five in the bottom of the sixth.

But Bryce Zimmerman’s (2-for-3) two-out, two-run double in the top of the seventh sent it to extra innings. Colby Martin and Kline each also chipped in with two hits in the game for Warwick.

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