Warrenton baseball falls in semifinals


SENIOR LEADER — Hunter Sherman pitched a complete-game in Warrenton’s 7-5 win over St. Charles in the district opener last week. Bill Barrett photo.
By: 
Scott Butler
Correspondent

As the sixth seed in the eight-team Class 4, District 5 field, the Warrenton baseball team knew it faced an uphill battle in the postseason.

The Warriors knocked off a higher seed in the first round and, while the season came to an end in the semifinals, they put a scare into the tournament’s second seed as they held the lead midway through the contest.

Facing No. 3 seed St. Charles in the district opener May 19, this was the third meeting between the squads this season, with the Pirates coming out on top the previous two contests.

“They are a conference opponent and we felt we were a little slighted earlier in the season with how the circumstances of our game ended,” Head Coach Eric Burle said. “I think we have developed a little rivalry with them the past few years with us going back and forth.”

Warrenton was able to pick up the upset in large part because they gave the ball to their four-year starter Hunter Sherman for his first start on the hill this season. And the senior didn’t disappoint as he tossed a complete game on just 88 pitches in the 7-5 triumph.

Sherman gave up five runs on 10 hits and three hits while striking out five.

“Obviously Hunter’s start in the third game was enormous for us,” Burle said. “We have shown if we can field the ball, throw the ball and be in the strike zone, we can compete with anyone on our schedule.”

The Warrenton offense came out swinging, jumping out to a four-run lead after the first inning by taking advantage of some Pirate miscues early. Sherman helped himself with two of his own, while the Warriors also had multi-hit games from Dylan Beck and Joe Goldsmith. Caleb Clark and Sherman both scored twice.

“The win over St. Charles was huge for a couple of reasons,” Burle said. “The second game against them, we had one tough inning when the game was called in the sixth. It was tied with us having some momentum.

The upset win advanced Warrenton to the semifinals the following day, where it faced district host and No. 2 seed Fort Zumwalt East, which had also beaten the Warriors twice already in the spring. Although Warrenton put another scare into their opponent, the Lions were able to come away with an 11-7 win in a high-scoring affair. 

“This was the third time we faced East’s pitcher and last game, he dominated us,” Burle said. “This team has battled and competed at the plate all season. In this game, we were more aggressive and were able to compete up and down the lineup.”

Again, Warrenton jumped out to an early lead, grabbing a 4-0 lead after their half of the second inning. But FZE finished the game outscoring the Warriors 11-3 due to some errors in the field and pitchers not being able to find the strike zone. 

Offensively, Kannon Hibbs went 2 for 3 a the plate with two RBIs and two runs. Will Nordstrom had two RBIs in the loss.

“We had two outs and they were able to put up a big inning,” Burle said. “A great team, which FZE is, took advantage of a couple costly miscues in the field.”

With the loss, Warrenton ended the season with an 8-18 record. However, Burle did see some things this season that he believes can be useful moving forward. 

“If you look at the season on paper the final record does not show how competitive this team was all season,” Burle said. “This team scored 174 runs on the season, which is a school record and played the season with seven underclassmen on the field for a majority of the season so there wasn’t an opponent we played all year that had the amount of youth we had out there.”

Warrenton will lose six seniors but return most of their lineup next season. And the expectations will be raised next year as well. 

“Our mentality as a program, both coaches and players, has to be we have to be better and we have to approach the offseason with that mindset,” Burle said. “Simply be better than you were yesterday.”

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