Seth Dennis, Brett Gandee lead Warren baseball past Marietta

VINCENT — Seth Dennis pitched four dominant innings, Brett Gandee clubbed a grand slam and Kurt Taylor displayed a gold glove at first base as Warren defeated Marietta in county league action Thursday.

Warren took sole possession of first place in the league standings, improving to 4-0 in the county. Marietta dropped to 3-1. Warren, now 6-1 overall, took its first loss Wednesday to Athens in non-league play.

“We took a loss last night,” said Warren skipper Ryan Lemley. “I was happy with the kids being able to bounce back against a good club and get a W. Even though it’s a summer game, it’s still a rivalry game that we want to win.”

Dennis fanned seven batters, walked one and did not allow a hit on the way to earning the victory. His teammates gave him a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Taylor and Derek McAfee led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Gandee walked to load the bases against Marietta starter Adam Coil. Coil punched out Bradyn Gerber before giving up a sacrifice fly to Dalton Higgins to plate Taylor and make it 1-0. No. 9 hitter Scott Reynolds grounded to short for the potential final out, but instead an error allowed McAfee to score and Gandee to advance to third. Dennis helped his own cause with an RBI single for the third run of the inning.

The Warriors added four more in the third. Once again they loaded the bases with no outs on singles by Evan Gandee and Taylor and a walk by McAfee. Brett Gandee stepped up to the plate and lined a pitch over the left field fence to empty the bases and make it 7-0.

“Brett has hit several home runs in his career,” Lemley said. “Several big home runs. That ended up being huge for us because we needed the insurance runs.”

Dennis pitched a 1-2-3 fourth and was dealing, but reached his pitch count for the day.

“Seth was great,” Lemley praised. “Seth, recovering from the injury, was on a very strict pitch count. We had told him the other day he had 40 (pitches) in his first actual outing. He was on a 60-pitch limit today. You know, summer league game, we’re not leaving a kid out there. We probably would’ve let him finish it had it been May of a high school season, but not with him recovering from the injury. He does look like the Seth of old.”

Jacob Smeeks relieved him to start the fifth. Jarrett Jackson led off with a single for Marietta’s first hit of the day, but Justin Thompson’s grounder to first was scooped by Taylor and converted into a 3-6-3 doubleplay. Next batter Malachi Morton hit a sharp bouncer that was headed for right field until Taylor made a diving stop. He leaned up and threw a strike to Smeeks, who hustled and touched first for the final out of the inning.

“Kurt Taylor had a couple hits today and played really well in the field,” Lemley said. “Made two outstanding defensive plays there in the fifth inning.”

Smeeks pitched a scoreless sixth, allowing only a one-out single by J.B. Wharff, before running into trouble in the top of the seventh.

Leading off the inning, Corbin Alkire cranked a solo home run well over the left field fence to get the orange and black on the board. Later with two outs, Thompson drew a walk and scored on Bryson Chavez’s double to right-center field before Wharff’s two-run single to right cut Warren’s lead to 7-4. Dakota Miller and Josh Martin then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases, bringing Alkire back to the plate representing the go-ahead run. Lemley called on Evan Gandee out of the bullpen, and Gandee struck out Alkire to secure the win.

Warren finished with seven hits and no errors while Marietta had six hits and two errors. Coil took the loss, pitching two innings with a walk and a strikeout. Miller pitched a scoreless inning of relief while Thompson fired three scoreless innings with three Ks and two walks.

At the halfway mark of the schedule, Lemley feels good about how his team is playing, but is mostly just excited to have them back on the field.

“I told them the other day, I missed the game and I love the game, but I missed them more,” he said. “Being out here with them has just been … it’s not what we had in mind, but it’s still a heck of a lot of fun.”

Jordan Holland can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.


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