Warriors rally past Hawks for baseball win

FRONT ROYAL — Sherando put things together when it needed to the most on Thursday night.

The Warriors rallied with four runs in the seventh to pull out a 5-2 Northwestern District baseball victory over Skyline at Bing Crosby Stadium.

“We’ve been involved in a few one-run games and we’ve found a way to win all but one of them,” Sherando coach Pepper Martin said. “…It says a little bit about the character of the team.”

The Warriors trailed 2-1 entering the top of the seventh, and had struggled with runners in scoring position throughout the game. Martin said his players had some bad at-bats earlier in the game, swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. Martin said he told his players he wanted quality at-bats from them, and that’s what he got in the seventh.

Sherando pinch-hitter Brett Bodenschatz reached on an infield single off Skyline starting pitcher Brett Ritter with one out.

Sherando’s Frank Ritter followed with an RBI double into center field to score pinch-runner Collin Painter to tie the game at 2-2.

“I just kept telling myself quality at-bat, put the ball in play, and good things will happen,” Frank Ritter said. “…He threw it in. I swung and I saw it going over and I just kept running.”

Sherando freshman Hunter Entsminger followed with an RBI double of his own to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead. He said that once Ritter hit a double, it gave the team some momentum and he was just trying to keep it going.

“It gets our team pumped when (Painter) scores, so you just try to go up and follow him,” Entsminger said.

Myles McPartland followed with an RBI single and the Warriors added another run on an error for a 5-2 lead.

“They put some balls in play hard and got a couple to fall,” Skyline coach Jay Barnes said. “Other than that both teams played hard. …They played a full seven. We did too. They got some more hits than we did.”

Skyline (5-5) took a lead in the bottom of the third. Skyline’s Louis Garcia drew a walk from Sherando starting pitcher Michael Usa. Garcia stole second. With one out, Gavin Kandrick reached on an error.

With two outs, Matt Hartzell doubled to score both Garcia and Kandrick scored to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead.

“That was definitely a timely hit,” Barnes said. “I think that’s maybe something that we struggled with tonight was timely hitting. If we could have gotten a couple two-out hits it might have been a different outcome.”

The Warriors (7-3) responded in the top of the fourth. Sherando’s McPartland singled off Skyline starting pitcher Brett Ritter. Two wild pitches moved McPartland to third. Pearce Bucher drew a walk, and Ravyn Rouse followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to 2-1.

Brett Ritter got out of the jam by inducing a fly out, a pop out and a force out at second to end the inning.

Barnes said he was very happy with how Brett Ritter pitched. He went 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits and striking out four.

Usa, a freshman went six innings for the Warriors. He allowed only four hits and struck out seven.

“He’s not your typical freshman pitcher,” Martin said. “He’s got a little velocity. He’s got a real nice breaking ball, two different change-ups. …For the most part when he gets ahead in the count, he’s a very smart pitcher. That’s a key for him, because he locates well.”

Entsminger relieved him in the seventh with a perfect inning.

Dillon Sisk led the Hawks with two hits. The loss snaps Skyline’s five-game winning streak.

“Overall I think we came out and played hard,” Barnes said. “They got the better of us there at the end. We just got to practice and keep getting better.”

Frank Ritter, Entsminger and McPartland each had two hits to lead the Warriors.

Sherando has a very young squad with three freshman and three sophomores, but have enjoyed plenty of success so far this season.

“We’ve been surprised. We’ve beaten a lot of good teams,” Entsminger said. “Here and there we’re a little iffy, but we put it together when we need to.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com