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Warren falls to Washington Court House in sectional final

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Warren starting pitcher Trent Taylor struck out four and allowed six hits while pitching a complete game in the Warriors’ 4-0 loss to Washington Court House during Wednesday’s Division II sectional final.
(Photo by Kerry Patrick)

VINCENT — Washington Court House hitters were in attack mode from the very first pitch they saw, and the approach eventually reaped dividends as the Blue Lions broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning and defeated Warren 4-0 in an Ohio Division II sectional final on Wednesday.

“I preach go after the first pitch all the time,” Washington Court House coach Brian Yeazel said. “Be aggressive early because a majority of high school pitchers are looking to get ahead. That first pitch 70% of the time is your best pitch of the at-bat. If it is there, hit it.”

Warren, winners of seven straight games entering the postseason, close out the season at 16-9. The Warriors graduate four seniors (Trent Taylor, Carson Gandee, Ethan Holbert and Ayden Atkinson).

“This is going to sting for a long time – we have to use it as motivation,” Warren coach Chad Porter said. “The seniors on this year’s team were sophomores when I started, and they are really special to me.

“We took major strides as a program this year and the future is exciting. But again, this is going to sting for a long time.”

Warren’s Trent Taylor is tagged out at third base after trying to advance a base on a pitch which eluded the catcher during an Ohio Division II sectional final at Warren High School.
(Photo by Kerry Patrick)

The two respective starting pitchers – lefty Will Miller for Washington Court House and Warren’s Taylor – traded zeroes for five innings. Taylor allowed just three hits over his first six innings, while Miller began nearing his pitch count limit after walking five and striking out seven during his appearance.

After coach Yeazel pulled Miller after five innings, reliever Evan Lynch tossed a perfect two innings and striking out four in the process.

“(Miller) was at 99 pitches – I had a feeling, I’ve been coaching for a long time it was time to move on to the next guy,” coach Yeazel said. “Evan Lynch started out as our No. 3. Our No. 2 got hurt and Evan stepped right into that role and done great.”

While the Blue Lions continued to look to swing at pitches early in the count to no avail two times through the lineup, they began to establish momentum as the lineup turned over a third time.

With the game still scoreless in the top of the seventh inning and Tayor on the hill,

Carson Gandee is greeted at first base after collecting one of the two hits by Warren during Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Washington Court House during Wednesday’s Division II sectional final.
(Photo by Kerry Patrick)

Miller led off with a walk and Cooper Robinson followed with a base hit.

Following Taylor’s fourth and final strikeout of the game, No. 9 hitter Bryson Heath stepped to the plate. Heath eventually laid down a bunt attempt which bounced back to Taylor, who turned toward third base. His throw sailed wide of the mark and pulled Michael Holdren off the bag.

With the bases now full of Blue Lions, Warren still had an opportunity to escape unscathed, but after only a few pitches over the course of three batters Washington Court House produced a pair of run-scoring singles and a sacrifice fly.

“I felt like we were hitting the ball pretty well throughout the game and I told the guys to stay with it,” coach Yeazel said.

A fielding error with two outs allowed a fourth run to score.

Warren second baseman Tate Jonas catches an infield pop fly during Wednesday’s Division II sectional final against Washington Court House in Vincent.
(Photo by Kerry Patrick)

“Even with one out and runners at first and second, I felt really good,” Porter said. “Bases loaded and one out. Infield in, we felt good with the way Trent was throwing.”

Offensively, Warren managed two hits – Taylor’s two-out single in the first inning and Gandee’s one-out single in the fourth inning. Combined with the free passes issued by Miller, the Warriors left seven runners on base.

“I’m very proud of our team and I’m disappointed for them,” Porter said. “Put this one under sometimes life isn’t fair. We had opportunities a couple of times, and I really thought we would push a run or two across. And if we did that, I really believed Trent would take us home.”

In a district semifinal, Washington Court House (14-8) meets Thursday’s winner between top-seed Unioto and No. 16 seed Fairfield Union. This season, the Blue Lions underwent an overhaul in terms of personnel after advancing to the Final Four a year ago.

“From the first day of practice, it’s been like night and day for these kids,” coach Yeazel said. “Honestly, I was really worried we would have a hard time in the beginning because we had a lot of young kids who haven’t played varsity baseball. We had so many seniors who started last year.

Warren baseball coach Chad Porter gathers his players in for the final time during a postgame huddle following the Warriors’ 4-0 loss to Washington Court House, Wednesday afternoon in Vincent.
(Photo by Kerry Patrick)

“It was a little unnerving, but they worked hard for me this year. I’m proud of them.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com



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