WARRENTON — Two weeks following a loss in the state championship game of the spring season, the Warrenton baseball program returned to its winning ways over the weekend, going 3-0-1 in a two-day, four-team tournament at Huddleston Field.
The wood bat tournament included four teams with players who all took part in state semifinals in the spring season (Astoria, Warrenton, Knappa and Santiam Christian).
Sunday’s action included a 2-2 tie between Santiam Christian and Warrenton (game was stopped after nine innings because of a time limit), and an 11-3 Warrior win over Knappa.
Warrenton also won two games Saturday, with a combined total of just five hits. The Warriors scored a 4-2 victory over Astoria, followed by a 1-0 decision against Santiam Christian.
“As far as the entire weekend goes, given the amount of time that we took off after the championship, we got better as the tournament progressed,” said Warrenton coach Lennie Wolfe. “Our pitching depth and defense is really what made the difference.”
Especially in the tournament finale, Sunday evening against the Loggers.
Warrenton pitchers Devin Jackson, sophomore-to-be Parker Greenawald and Jake Morrow combined on a two-hitter. The Warriors had eight hits off three Knappa pitchers, and the Loggers struggled defensively with eight errors.
The Warriors led from start to finish, scoring two runs in the first inning on RBI hits from Jake Morrow and Duane Falls.
Knappa’s Mark Miller had a double in the top of the second, but teammate Ryson Patterson was thrown out at the plate on the same play on a relay throw from Austin Little.
Warrenton extended its lead to 5-1 after four innings, before the Loggers scored two runs in the top of the fifth, both on hit batters with the bases loaded.
The Warriors tacked on three runs in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the sixth, as Knappa’s errors continued to mount.
The Loggers were coming off a narrow win over Dane Gouge’s Astoria Ford in Sunday’s third game — Knappa’s second victory in two days over the Fishermen.
In Game 1 of the tournament, Astoria Ford pitcher Adam Feldman was two outs away from posting a 2-0, two-hit shutout win over the Warriors, when Morrow belted a walkoff, grand-slam home run to give the Warriors a dramatic 4-2 win.
Warrenton had just three hits off Feldman, who struck out eight and gave up six walks and three hit batters.
But with his pitch count rising in the late innings, Feldman walked two batters in the bottom of the seventh and Gabe Breitmeyer reached on an infield hit to load the bases for Morrow, whose fly ball to left caught the jet stream, enough to clear the fence for the game-winning hit.
Breitmeyer had two of Warrenton’s three hits, including a double in the first inning.
Duane Falls got the pitching victory. Tony Tumbarello had two of Astoria’s three hits, while the Fishermen drew eight walks.
Against Santiam Christian — with many of the same players who lost to the Warriors in the state playoffs — Warrenton pitcher Austin Little tossed a two-hit shutout, with six strikeouts and three walks in the one-run victory.
Little also scored Warrenton’s only run. He drew a walk in the first inning, took second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Morrow, who drove in all five of Warrenton’s runs in both games.
In Saturday’s fourth game, Knappa defeated Astoria 3-0.
The Loggers scored on run in the first and tacked on two in the third, and let Patterson do the rest from the mound, as he allowed just one hit in the seven-inning shutout.
Knappa had four hits off Astoria’s Hunter Ficken, who struck out six with three walks.