Warriors’ Tinsman tosses gem
WOODSTOCK – Tyler Tinsman wasn’t expecting to be on the baseball field for Sherando’s road game at Central on Thursday evening.
Tinsman had only been cleared to return to action on Wednesday after suffering a bad ankle sprain, and even Warriors head coach Pepper Martin informed the senior on the bus ride to Woodstock that Tinsman would be eased back into action in a designated hitter role Thursday.
That plan changed quickly.
Sherando starting pitcher Brett Griffith struggled in the first inning, prompting Martin to shed Tinsman’s DH status and throw the senior out onto the mound. Tinsman would go on to toss the final six innings while allowing only four hits in the Warriors’ 8-4 non-district win over the Falcons.
“It was tough at first because I really didn’t get much warmup,” Tinsman said. “I didn’t really locate very well at times but I just had to keep throwing.”
Relying heavily on his breaking ball, Tinsman allowed just two hits through his first five innings pitched before giving up two more in the bottom of the seventh inning. He allowed three runs (one earned) while also dealing two walks against five strikeouts, the last of which came on a curveball to Central No. 3 hitter Jared Rice to end the game.
“I throw a lot of curveballs all the time just because I can locate it,” the right-hander said. “Coach B (Craig Bodenschatz) always puts it in there, we throw that a lot, and then we worked changeups in some too. Still working on that but my curveball’s my best pitch so I throw that a lot.”
The door to Tinsman’s solid debut opened as Griffith struggled through a 30-pitch first inning in which he allowed three hits and two walks. Central (1-1) got on the board with John French’s RBI single that scored Tristan Rau, who led off the inning with a walk and moved to third on two wild pitches.
“Brett just didn’t have it and I think he started – I hate to say it – but I think he started to doubt his ability a little bit, or maybe how he felt out there, and he let that affect him a little bit mentally,” Martin said. “But he’ll be back. We’re counting on him.”
Sherando (2-0) minimized the damage, as the Falcons ran into an out at third base on Rice’s single and Warriors shortstop Frank Ritter III started a 6-3 double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.
“We turned it and we got energy,” Ritter said of the double play, “came out there and played, had our heads held high, performed. Scored two runs and they just kept coming.”
The Warriors tagged Central starter Hank Hoover for two runs in the top of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead, with both runs scoring on a single to left field by junior Ravyn Rouse (2-for-4).
Sherando added two more in the fourth when Aaron Banks (three RBIs) plated Austin Simmons – who led off with a double – and Ritter with a single that put the Warriors up 4-1.
The Warriors had four doubles among their eight hits.
“Early on we weren’t getting our front foot down, so our hands were rolling under and we were popping up some balls, some routine fly balls,” Martin said. “… The kids took it upon themselves and made adjustments and then were ripping hard grounders and line drives.”
Central came back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth off Tinsman on a two-out, two-run triple by Luke Estep, who went 2-for-3 with two triples and was robbed of a third hit on a diving catch by Sherando right fielder Myles McPartland in the second inning.
Sherando pushed its lead to 7-3 with three runs in the sixth. Ritter drove home two of those runs with a double to left-center just a few pitches after he was chided by Martin for missing a sign. Ritter then scored from second on Banks’ groundout to first.
“I was confused on a sign and I couldn’t follow up on it,” said Ritter, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored from the leadoff spot. “It was a fake bunt and I missed it, and then it made me want to get back.”
The Warriors added another run in the top of the seventh on Austin Simmons’ sacrifice fly that scored Pearce Bucher, who doubled to lead off the inning after narrowly missing a home run.
Rau delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh for Central.
Hoover lasted four innings in his first start of the year, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits, three walks and two strikeouts. Estep tossed two innings and allowed three earned runs on three hits and a walk, while Johnathan Baker allowed one run on a hit and a walk in an inning pitched.
Thursday’s game marked the first between Central (Group 2A) and Sherando (4A) since 2009, and Falcons coach Donn Foltz said he was pleased how well his team competed.
“I didn’t know how we’d act going up against a big powerhouse 3A, 4A, whatever they are, but they didn’t back down and got to see some guys get some innings in that I was really wanting to see,” Foltz said. “And Luke Estep had a phenomenal game at the plate and on the bump. That’s what I’m excited about. We backed each other up. There’s no quit in them.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org