Field of Dreams: Warren, Fort Frye, Belpre play at Don Schaly Stadium
With their home field not ready for play, the Warren Warriors were presented with the unique opportunity of playing their “Senior Night” game at Marietta College’s Don Schaly Stadium Tuesday against Alexander.
On the home field of the six-time Division III national champion Etta Express, the Warriors shined. They surged for five runs in the bottom of the second and three runs in the bottom of the fourth while the pitching held the Spartans to just three runs on six hits in an 8-3 victory.
“The seniors came here wanting to win,” said Warren head coach Kevin Welsh. “We’ve had an up and down season. Finishing the regular season with a win is great for them. Plus, doing it at Marietta College is a big win for the seniors.”
Warren batted around in the second and sent five runners across the plate against Alexander starter Shae Grigsby. Senior David Ryan led off the inning with a single to left-center field. Jake Scott followed with a sacrifice bunt that was fielded quickly by the catcher and thrown to second, but the covering shortstop pulled his foot off the bag too early, leaving everybody safe. After Joel Estes bunted safely down the third base line to load the bases, Justin Hill walked to bring in the game’s first run. Jake Powell brought in another run on a squeeze bunt, Ethan Estes drove home one on a single to left and Lance Schafer collected an RBI on a fielder’s choice groundball to short. Schafer would later go to third on a single by Gunnar Smith and then score on a wild pitch to make it a 5-0 game.
Alexander’s Blake Lindner led off the top of the fourth with a double and scored on a single to right by Corey Chapman to chip into Warren’s lead.
The Warriors were quick to respond, though, producing three runs the next half-inning to go ahead 8-1. Powell started the rally with a one-out single to right. Ethan Estes followed with a single of his own and Schafer walked to load the bases. Two batters later, with two outs, Kennedy punched a two-run single through the right side to break the game open at 7-1. For good measure, Ryan added a run-scoring single to put Warren on top by seven.
The Spartans pushed across two runs in the sixth but would inch no closer. The win gave Warren a 7-10 record to close out the regular season and a little momentum going into the postseason.
Hill, a lefty, tossed the first 4.2 innings of the game for the Warriors, striking out one and walking one to earn the victory. Right-hander Blake Kidder threw the final 2.1 innings in relief, punching out one and walking three.
“Justin did a good job,” Welsh said.
“He’s been our main starter. He’s done a great job for us.”
Spartans starter Grigsby went the distance, striking out five and walking four while allowing all eight runs on 10 hits in the loss. Lindner and Brody McGrath both had two base hits to lead Alexander’s lineup.
Ethan Estes, Joel Estes, Ryan and Smith all had a pair of hits for Warren.
Both teams had two errors in the field.
Warren will open up tournament action Saturday against Vinton County at Legion Field in Marietta.