Sports Talk: Warren turned baseball season around after South game

After getting smoked 9-0 by Parkersburg South in a non-conference baseball game at Hank Greenburg Field on Monday, April 29, Warren was at the proverbial fork in the road of its season.

Do the Warriors, who fell to 7-8 overall at the time, go the way of just playing out the string, or do they travel the other direction, and try to get competitive for postseason action?

“We had a team meeting after that loss to South,” recalled Warren skipper Mark Farr. “And it came down to personal accountability.

“The guys were angry, because they knew they were better than that. But they had to prove themselves.”

Warren didn’t have long to dwell on that setback to the Patriots (26-9), who incidentally will be playing in the state tournament at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va. Friday. The very next day (April 30), the Warriors hosted Gallia Academy in a key Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) contest, and won 5-4.

Warren ace right-hander Danny Pannell pitched a complete game, and got the win. His mound counterpart was Justin Bailey, one of the better pitchers in the league.

Lance Schafer’s solo blast in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be the game-winner. Designated hitter David Ryan was another hitting star, driving in three runs, and catcher Gunnar Smith had a sacrifice fly.

It was a good bounce-back victory for the Warriors, and it helped put them on the road to where they are now – in a regional “Sweet 16” semifinal game against Cadiz Harrison Central at Gant Municpal Stadium in Zanesville at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Since the loss to South, Warren has won eight of its last nine games, and is now 15-9 on the season. One of those games, on May 3, was a 2-0 Warrior triumph over Marietta High, which had defeated the royal blue and white nine by the same identical score at Legion Field earlier in the spring.

During its run to regional, Warren has claimed both a sectional and district title.

In the baseball program’s history, the Warriors have played in the regional tournament before but have never gotten past the championship game and a trip to state.

If Warren beats Harrison Central and then wins again Friday, it’ll pack its baseball bags for a journey to Huntington Park in Columbus – and the June 6-8 state tournament.

Back on April 29, who would’ve “thunk it” possible that Warren would be where it’s at, now?

Well, the Warriors obviously did.

They kept the faith – and took the right fork in the road.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at