Well armed: Warriors show off pitching depth with win at home

By Tommy Keeler Jr. – tkeeler@nvdaily.com

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando coach Pepper Martin has been pleased with the depth of his pitching staff all season, and on Tuesday night that depth showed up once again.

The Warriors have three games scheduled this week, and a solid effort by sophomore Reid Entsminger helped the Warriors pull out a 9-5 victory over Liberty in non-district action.

“Some people would probably call Reid [Entsminger] our No. 4 starter, but we have the utmost confidence in him,” Martin said. “And he knows we have confidence in him.”

Entsminger threw 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Tre Porter, who pitched for the first time in almost two weeks and picked up his second save of the year.

Entsminger threw 97 pitches, but a big chunk of them came in the fifth inning, when he struggled with his control and gave up four runs. He gave up eight hits, struck out two and walked four.

“[Entsminger] didn’t have his best stuff,” Martin said. “He had trouble with his change-up, keeping it in the zone. His breaking ball was a little erratic, but he competed. He’s a competitor.”

With the Warriors leading 6-5 in the top of the sixth, Entsminger began to get a little tired. Liberty’s Austin Booth drew a two-out walk and Derek Dueling singled. Martin then brought in Porter in relief.

The senior hadn’t pitched in 13 days to a tendonitis injury, but was able to get Quentin Rodney to pop out to end the inning.

“I was just wanted to come in and throw strikes and get outs,” Porter said. “Reid [Entsminger] did such a good job and made it easy for us with the way he threw. I just wanted to do the same for him.”

The Warriors (12-2, 7-1 Northwestern) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as they took advantage of a wild start from Liberty’s Chris Vorrath.

Taylor Loudan, Porter and Jacob Carney each singled to start the game. Entsminger drew a walk and Tyler Quinn was hit by a pitch to make it 2-0 with no outs. A Chase Smallwood sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 3-0. Logan Bucher then drew a walk to load the bases. One out later, Zach Wagner was hit by a pitch to force in a run and give the Warriors a 4-0 lead. Loudan then drew a walk to bring home the Warriors’ fifth run and chase Vorrath from the mound.

Liberty (10-4) brought in Ryan Ramirez, who held the Warriors in check for most of the next four innings.

The Eagles scored a run in the top of the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Dueling. Sherando countered with a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Quinn.

In the top of the fifth, the Eagles scored four runs to cut the lead to 6-5. Booth and Dueling had back-to-back singles with one out. Rodney and C.J. Lindsay each drew walks to score a run. Ramirez had a two-run single, and a throwing error led to another run on the play.

The Warriors added a couple insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on a balk by reliever Rodney and an RBI single by Loudan.

Carney had three hits and two RBIs to lead Sherando. Martin said Wagner will get the start tonight against Spotswood, but he hasn’t decided who will start Thursday against James Wood. The Warriors also have a key game against Millbrook next Tuesday, the two teams are tied for first place in the Northwestern District.

The Warriors lost 4-3 to Millbrook on April 13, but have scored 34 runs in three games since then.

“The two games we lost this year, we just didn’t come out to play,” Porter said. “I think [the Millbrook loss] lit a fire in our whole team. We came back and practiced real hard and we’ve done what we’ve needed to do since then.”