SELINSGROVE — In a championship game, the little things a team does wrong can add up to something a lot bigger.
Lead-off walks and errors can especially come back and haunt a team later, and it did Warrior Run’s Major Division All-Stars on Tuesday.
Orwigsburg sent 10 batters to the plate in the third, and the team scored five runs in the process before holding on to take a 6-5 victory over Warrior Run in the championship final of the Section 3 Tournament at East Snyder Park’s DeWire Field.
However, all is not lost for Warrior Run, which suffered its first loss of sectionals.
Warrior Run and Orwigsburg will play again today, weather permitting, at 5:30 p.m. to decide the Section 3 champion.
“It was tough. Hat’s off to Orwigsburg — they found a way to win and they wanted it a little more than us tonight,” said Warrior Run coach Derrick Zechman. “That five-run inning — the walks and errors — they come back to haunt you.
“I thought we were sitting in the driver’s seat, but it’s unfortunate the way the ball bounces sometimes,” added Zechman.
Orwigsburg took control of the game as it broke open a 1-all ballgame with the five runs in the third.
Beginning with a leadoff walk from Ty Kaunas, Ben Kreitzer and Brayden Reilly both reached on errors to load the bases.
Brady Strause and Wyatt Barnes then drew bases-loaded walks before Sam Walborn walked with two outs to bring home another run and make the score 4-1. Later, Aidan Grace smacked a two-run single to center to build Orwgisburg’s lead to 6-1.
“Orwigsburg had the momentum early, but we just couldn’t get out of that rut (in the third),” said Zechman. “And when we had some momentum, we gave it back right away.”
“I mean, we made a run and I was proud of the kids for coming back the way they did,” added Warrior Run’s manager.
Warrior Run got back into the game in the fourth by putting its first five batters on base.
A lead-off double by Cohen Zechman and a single from Cooper Wilkins got the fourth started before Zamir Keyes drew a walk to load the bases.
Avery Reiff would cut Warrior Run’s deficit to three with a two-run single hit down the left field line before the bases got loaded up again on a single by Tyler Ulrich.
Then with two outs, Brayden Gower slapped a two-run single to center to make it a one-run game.
Gower, along with Ulrich and Wilkins, all batted 2-for-3 in the game for Warrior Run.
However, Orwigsburg’s relief pitcher, Walborn, allowed only one hit in the final two innings to close it out for the District 24 champions and extend the Section 3 Tournament another day.
Gabe Engel, who relieved Warrior Run starting pitcher Landon Polcyn in the third, managed to get Warrior Run out of that big inning and he allowed just two more hits from the fourth inning on.
“Gabe was throwing his slider really well and he had Orwigsburg baffled by it,” said manager Zechman. “He got into a good rhythm after he got out of the third. I was close to making a change there, but we’re getting a little thin on pitching like everyone is at this point, but he started dealing and we didn’t give up a run after (the third).”
Warrior Run, which also got an RBI single from Engel to tie the game at 1 in the second, will need to bounce back in short order to punch its ticket to the PA State Tournament.
“We preached to the kids, ‘Hey, we’ve been in this situation all districts after the second game, so we’ve been there before,” said manager Zechman. “We got to show a little more fight, and hopefully being in this position will create a little more sense of urgency — not that we played terrible — but Orwigsburg made the most of the miscues and they made us pay for it tonight, where we got out of stuff like that before.
“Little things are big things, but it was a good ballgame and everyone got to see a great ballgame (Tuesday),” added Warrior Run’s manager. “Hopefully (today), we’ll be ready to go.”
Section 3 Tournament
at East Snyder Park, Selinsgrove
Orwigsburg 6, Warrior Run 5
Orwigsburg 015 000 — 6-4-0
Warrior Run 010 400 — 5-11-2
Cole Yelinek, Sam Walborn (4) and Hunter Blankenhorn. Landon Polcyn, Gabe Engel (3) and Engel, Griffin Harrington (3).
WP: Yelinek. LP: Polcyn.
Orwigsburg hitters: Walborn, 2 walks, RBI; Aidan Grace, 2-for-4, 2 RBI; Ty Kaunas, 2 walks, run scored; Drew Seaman, run; Brayden Reilly, walk, run; Ethan Frantz, run; Brady Strause, walk, RBI, run; Yelinek, walk; Wyatt Barnes, walk, RBI, run; Makayla Keck, single; Blankenhorn, double, RBI.
Warrior Run hitters: Tyler Ulrich, 2-for-3; Brayden Gower, 2-for-3, 2 RBI; Polcyn, single; Cohen Zechman, double, run; Cooper Wilkins, 2-for-3, double, 2 runs; James Keifer, single; Zamir Keyes, walk, run; Engel, single, RBI; Avery Reiff, single, 2 RBI, run.