Warriors win opening day thriller

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CCM/Dan Ries Teammates celebrate as Cooper Haun steps on home plate for the winning run against Garaway.

By Dan Ries

Sports Reporter

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Carrollton’s Hunter Allison hit a single up the middle, scoring Cooper Haun from second for a 1-0 opening day win over the Garaway Pirates.

A large home opening day crowd enjoyed the early spring warm weather March 25 with a strong breeze coming out of left field that would make any popup an adventure.

Things didn’t look great for the Warriors in the bottom of the first. Junior Garrett Broadwater led off for the Warriors with a ground ball that got past the second baseman. Broadwater fell to the ground in pain clutching his knee. Unable to walk, or run to first base, his teammates carried him back to the clubhouse.

“Garrett’s a big part of our game. He’s our lead off hitter, our center fielder. I’m worried about him. We don’t know how well he is at the moment,” Coach Brian Connelly said after the game.

After a fly ball to left center, Jacob Whitmore singled to right center, Landon James reached base on an error and Haun drew a walk to load the bases. A strikeout ended the inning and the only Warrior threat until the eighth inning.

The game became a pitching duel between left-handed pitchers Payton Keller for Garaway and Hayden Jenkins for the Warriors. Jenkins, who signed a letter to play baseball at Gannon University the previous week, was in control for most of the game. He never faced more than four batters in an inning and struck out the side in the fifth inning on 14 pitches.

The Pirates best chance of scoring came in the sixth inning. Jenkins walked the first batter on four pitches. A fielder’s choice to short put the runner on second. A groundout to second moved the runner to third. Garaway’s power hitting first baseman Zach Misko came to the plate. Misko had singled down the third base line in the third inning. On the third pitch, he hit the ball to deep left field that on any other day would have cleared the fence. But the strong wind coming in from left, held the ball up, turning it into a loud flyout.

The sun had already disappeared below the horizon as the game moved to the eighth inning. Garaway would get a runner on first but left him stranded. As the game moved to the bottom of the inning, a whisper went through the crowd, wondering if this would be the last inning for the evening. A ground out to short and a flyout to center by the Warriors and it looked like the night would end in a tie.

After fouling off four straight pitches, Haun laid down a single that got past the second baseman. Isaac Husted walked on four pitches and Allison sent Haun home from second base with a single up the middle and the 1-0 Warrior victory.

“Our sophomores stepped up big in that last inning,” Connelly said.

Jenkins threw six innings giving up just two hits while walking three and striking out seven. Isiah McConnell picked up the win in two innings of relief, giving up one hit and striking out one.

“Jenkins held them down. He’s going to do that to most teams when he throws. We just need to get him more runs,” Connelly said.

The Warriors out hit the Pirates 8-3 with Whitmore, Allison and Haun each having two hits. Landon James and Jenkins each had one.

Canton South

The Warriors smacked five doubles and stole nine bases in an 11-4 victory over the Wildcats at Canton South March 28. James went 3-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and a stolen base to lead the Warriors.

Carrollton took a 2-0 lead in the second inning adding two more runs in the third. The Wildcats got one of the runs back in the bottom of the third before the Warriors added five runs in the fourth, giving them a 9-1 advantage. Canton South scored two in the bottom of the fourth to close within 9-3. Carrollton added two more runs in the sixth and South added one run in the seventh to finish out the scoring.

The Warriors hit .359 going 11-31, nine walks, two hits by pitch and nine stolen bases. Senior Isiah McConnell went 3-3 with four RBIs, three runs scored, a walk and two stolen bases while senior Aiden McCort was 2-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Whitmore was 1-3 with a run scored and a stolen base. Tyler Baughman went 1-2 with two walks, an RBI and run scored with two stolen bases.

Haun got the win, pitching 4.2 innings giving up three runs, two earned on four hits and three walks while striking out seven. McConnell pitched 2.1 innings in relief giving up a run on one hit, one ball while striking out four. 

Carrollton (2-0) was scheduled to visit Marlington April 3 to begin Eastern Buckeye Conference play.

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