Warren baseball to play in regional at 2 p.m. today

WARREN – Warren recorded a rare triple play in its 11-3 triumph over Washington Court House in an Ohio Division II Southeast District championship baseball game at Bob Wren Field on the campus of Ohio University in Athens.

“That was huge, because the bases were loaded at the time (top of the fifth inning), and we were only up 7-2,” said Warren skipper Mark Farr.

So, what’s next on the diamond for the Warriors (15-9)?

Probably not another triple play, but a win over Justin Clifford-led Cadiz Harrison Central in the Sweet 16 round would be…yes, sweet.

“I’m hoping we can keep going to state, like we did in basketball,” said Warren senior pitcher Danny Pannell.

At 2 p.m. today, Warren is scheduled to play the Huskies (24-5) in a regional semifinal at Zanesville’s Gant Municipal Stadium. The winner advances to the Elite Eight or regional title tilt, which is slated for 5 p.m. Friday at the same venue.

Both Warren and Harrison Central naturally are hoping to play two – games, that is, this week.

“It’s high school baseball, and anything can happen,” Farr said.

Harrison Central got to the regional showdown by virtue of its 4-0 blanking of highly regarded Dover (25-4) at Vaccaro Field in Steubenville on May 22.

On that same day, Warren had little difficulty in taming the No. 3-seeded Lions (12-11). The Warriors, who rapped out 12 hits, touched home plate in every inning but the fifth.

Offensively, the royal blue and white nine were led by center fielder and leadoff batter Lance Schafer, who was 3 for 4 with an RBI, two stolen bases and two runs scored. Schafer (.397 batting average, 8 doubles) was recently named to the All-Southeast Ohio Athletic League first team.

Danny Pannell (pitcher/first baseman) was also a first teamer, while shortstop Ethan Estes (.357) and catcher Gunnar Smith (.356, 21 RBIs) each were honorable mention.

Against Washington Court House, left fielder Zach McKenna (.301), Estes and Smith each added two base knocks for the winners. Smith also drove in three runs, and Estes had two RBIs.

As a team this spring, Warren is batting .285.

“We’ve been hitting really good,” Farr said. “I just hate these long breaks between games.”

Southpaw Justin Hill (3-1, 1.75 ERA, 2 saves) was the winning pitcher versus Washington Court House. He fanned five and walked three in six innings of work.

Righty Garrett Kennedy (3-3, 3.31 ERA) relieved and sealed the victory in the seventh.

“Overall, our pitching’s been great,” Farr said. “I like our staff. We’re not exactly overpowering, but the kids throw strikes. That’s what I preach – no walks.”