Warrior Run falls in sectional final, has rematch today
SELINSGROVE — Let’s play again! Warrior Run and Orwigsburg will battle out in a winner-take-all Section 3 major baseball championship today after Warrior Run dropped a 6-5 nail-biter to Orwigsburg on Tuesday night in Selinsgrove.
After an hour rain delay to fix the flooded field at East Snyder Park in Selinsgrove, both teams were eager to test the other down to the final out. Orwigsburg was playing to continue its season as Warrior Run was playing to clinch the Section 3 title and move on to the state tournament next week.
“Orwigsburg found a way to win. It was a solid game all around, (the outcome) was unfortunate, but that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes,” Warrior Run coach Derrick Zechman said with a tone of confidence that his payers show, they still get one more chance today.
Orwigsburg and Warrior Run were deadlocked in a fierce competition just like their last matchup on Saturday where Warrior Run won late thanks to a three-run home run from Griffen Harrington. Tuesday, Orwigsburg made just enough pitches and plays that counted to keep Warrior Run’s potent offense off the base paths. Although Warrior Run garnered 11 hits, Orwigsburg benefitted from nine pop flies right at a fielder, stranding seven runners on base.
“They kept us off balance at the plate and we had a lot of hard hit balls that were right at them,” Zechman said.
Both teams played a clan first inning and traded a run in the second. Orwigsburg scored the opening run after back-to-back walks and a hard hit RBI double from the No. 9 hitter, Hunter Blankenhorn. Warrior Run responded with a run of their own produced by the bottom of the order When No. 7 hitters Cooper Wilkins hit a two-out double to no-man’s land in right field, then two singles from James Keifer and Gabe Engel brought Wilkins in to tie the game.
Orwigsburg did just enough damage in the third inning that kept it in front for good.
The team from Schuykill Haven batted around in the inning that included five runs, three hits and four walks which ended Landon Polcyn’s pitching night with 56 pitches in three innings. Ty Kaunas led off with a walk followed by two hard hit singles to first base, even an MLB player would have a hard time handling to load the bases. The next two batters worked for two RBI walks before Engel came on and threw two big strikeouts to disrupt the rally. Sam Walborn and Aidan Grace finished the five run inning with an RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.
“That five run inning with walks and errors came back to haunt us.” Zechman said.
Warrior Run again bounced back to score four runs of its own in the fourth.
Cohen Zechman led off the inning, scorching a double to the left field fence, Wilkins singled and Zamir Keyes walked on four pitches to load the bases. Avery Reiff drove in Zechman and Wilkins with a single down the left field line and Gower brought in Keyes and Reiff with a single down the right field line, but aggressive base running ended the Warrior Run rally when miscommunication between Gower and Zechman as the third base coach on a steal attempt.
“We made a run, I was proud of the kids the way they come back the way that they did. I thought that we had a shot there,” Zechman said.
In the fifth inning, Orwigsburg threatened again to add to its lead with a runner on third, left fielder Chase Knarr came up big for Warrior Run laying out for the final out of the inning and preserving a run.
“That felt good because I struck out to end the inning before and I had my head down out there a little bit. That play got myself back in the game, and it definitely fired up to whole team for the final inning,” Knarr said, “Unfortunately we had a lot of errors and walks that hurt us earlier in the game. Good thig there is always (today) and we will be ready to go.”
Orwigsburg 6, Warrior Run 5
(SECTION 3 MAJOR BASEBALL FINAL)
Owigsburg 015 000 — 6 6 0
Warrior Run 010 400 — 5 11 0
Cole Yelnick, Sam Walborn (4) and Hunter Blankenhorn. Landon Polcyn, Gabe Engel (3) and Engel, Griffen Harrington. W–Yelnick. L–Polcyn.
Top Orwigsburg hitters: Aidan Grace 2-4, RBI; Drew Seaman 1-3, run; Blankenhorn 1-3, 2 RBIs. Top Warrior Run hitters: Tyler Ulrich 2-3; Brayden Gower 2-3, 2 RBIs; Cohen Zechman 1-3, 2B, run; Cooper Wilkins 2-3, 2B, 2 runs; Gabe Engel 1-1, RBI; Avery Reiff 1-1, run, RBI.
Next game: Warrior Run vs. Orwigsburg, at East Snyder Park, today, 5:30 p.m