Offensive struggles costly for Wildcats in loss
FRONT ROYAL — Warren County couldn’t muster any offense on Friday night and it proved costly.
The Wildcats managed only four hits in a 3-0 Conference 28 baseball loss to William Monroe at Bing Crosby Stadium. The loss snapped Warren County’s six-game winning streak.
“Poor approaches at the plate,” Warren County coach Michael Minch said. “Poor effort. We really went up there and really didn’t have a plan at the plate.”
The Dragons scored all three of their runs in the top of the first.
William Monroe’s Braydon Collier drew a walk from Warren County starting pitcher Cam Ford. Zach Miller followed with a double. Collier and Miller would each eventually score on two wild pitches.
R.J. Payne drew a walk, and later scored on an RBI single by Jonathan Sexton for a 3-0 edge.
“We came out early in the first inning before (Ford) could really get his curveball going and we jumped on some fastballs,” William Monroe coach Mike Maynard said. “So we swung the bat well early in the game and we got a 3-run spot.”
Ford pitched much better after the first inning. He allowed only three hits over the next four innings.
Ford pitched five-plus innings, he left the game with two runners on base and no outs in the sixth after back-to-back walks. Ford struck out eight.
“I thought Cameron really battled,” Minch said. “You take away that first inning, he pitched a heck’uva ballgame.”
Warren County junior Preston Hudson relieved Ford in the top of the sixth and was able to work out of the jam. The Dragons, who left 12 runners on base during the game, left the bases loaded in the sixth.
“Preston came in in a tough situation and got us out of a jam and kept us in the game,” Minch said. “That’s all we could ask for.”
The Wildcats (9-4, 1-3 Conference 28) had several opportunities to score, but hit into three inning-ending double plays.
In the bottom of the seventh, Warren County’s Hunter Wines and Jake DiPatre drew back-to-back one-out walks from William Monroe starting pitcher Riley Owen. William Monroe’s Charlie Richards came in to replace Owen.
Warren County’s Brendan McMackin reached on an infield single, but the Dragons were able to turn a double play on a grounder hit by Conner McCollum to end the game.
“We hit some balls hard there and they just weren’t going our way,” Minch said. “And unfortunately against well coached teams that’s how it goes. We got to execute offensively and we didn’t.”
The Dragons (12-2, 3-1 Conference 28) were the Group 3A state runners-up last year. Maynard said that he lost seven players from last year’s team, and he’s been surprised at how well his young team has been doing this season.
“We pitch freshman and sophomores and they’re getting better every day,” Maynard said. “… William Monroe baseball — the guys always believe that they’re going to win. It’s something that the guys before them has taught them. It’s a real popular sport at our school and these guys believe that they’re going to win. We have a lot of talent, we’re just young.”
William Monroe had only five hits in the game, and Maynard said the team needs to improve offensively. Sexton had two hits to lead the way for the Dragons.
Ford had a double to lead Warren County, while McMackin, Jacob Dodson and Jackson Arnold had a single each.
“It’s frustrating, but we got to get back to the drawing board and come out and play a better game,” Minch said.
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com