The Warrenton VFW Post 2180 Freshman baseball team took advantage of shaky pitching by its opponent and smart decisions at the plate, rallying for a 3-1 win over New Haven on Monday.
In a game that threatened to never end following a lightning delay and two rain delays, Post 2180 overcame a plethora of mistakes in the field to escape with the victory.
“It’s been our whole motto this year to not give up,” said Manager Ken Dildine. “The boys keep fighting, and they came through tonight.”
With New Haven making a pitching change in the bottom of the seventh, Post 2180 was patient and worked him deep into his count. Three straight walks by Josh Muegge, William Nordstrom and Isaac Hartman loaded the bases. Two of those runners advanced home on fielders choice plays by Manny Raygoza and Dakota Ball to push through the game-winning run.
“The bottom of our lineup has really been key in most of our games,” said Dildine. “We tell them to see pitches and wait on them.”
Unlike in its previous game, Post 2180 was unable to generate any consistency at the plate.
Warrenton had to get creative in finding its way around the base paths, as Post 2180 managed just one hit. Dildine’s team could never build any fire around Nordstrom’s double in the fourth inning.
“We didn’t hit effectively like we did on Saturday, when we had a lot of good quality at-bats with runners in scoring position,” said Dildine.
Six runners reached base by walk, with four retiring early on strikes.
“In the sixth inning we had two batters swinging at balls over their heads and not taking quality at bats,” said Dildine. “We were swinging at first pitches without letting the pitcher get into his count, knowing he was inconsistent.”
Raygoza got the win on the mound, but the support behind him was inconsistent, as Post 2180 committed six errors.
“We had six errors and still won,” said Dildine. “I’m not really sure how that happens.”
Raygoza fanned nine batters, while giving up just one hit. New Haven scored its only run in the top of the third on an error.
“Manny is a phenomenal pitcher,” said Dildine. “He’s been one of our aces for us all year long. He had a rough first inning but really picked up from there.”
Dildine is hopeful his team can make a run into the district tournament.
“This is probably one of the better freshman teams I’ve had,” said Dildine. “Doing offseason workouts in the winter has paid dividends.”