Spartans win pitcher’s duel over Raiders, 2-1
An RBI single from Dalton Taylor in the bottom of the sixth inning lifted the South Warren baseball team to a 2-1 win over Warren East on Tuesday evening in the first of a three-game District 14 series at Warren Central High School.
As both sides were playing in their first district games of the season, the Raiders and Spartans participated in a pitcher’s duel as South Warren’s Cade Vernon and Warren East’s Brady Dragoo delivered nice outings in complete-game fashion.
While Vernon allowed just two hits, a run and a walk, he recorded 10 strikeouts with just 78 total pitches. Dragoo gave up seven hits, two runs and a pair of walks but finished with six Ks on 92 pitches.
“They’ve got Dragoo – I can’t say enough about the way he pitched,” South Warren coach Sam Gage said. “I thought just a pitcher’s duel that was. I think we finally made an adjustment. We told them we needed to make an adjustment, and then really emphasized that we needed to make an adjustment in like the fifth inning. I thought we had a much better approach the fifth inning on.”
With only three total runs scored, both Vernon and Dragoo managed to keep runners from crossing home plate and put themselves in position to help their respective clubs win, but it was the hit from Taylor – who had previously been in the No. 9 spot – off a pitch from Dragoo that proved to be the difference.
“It really boosted my confidence a lot to get moved up there – and it shows that coach has some trust in me,” Taylor, who’s now batting in the No. 6 hole, said. “That really helped my approach at the plate. (Dragoo) threw off our approach a little, but I think after a few times we came around the lineup and really settled in and kind of relaxed.”
Sam Gage and Tyler Martin each went 2-for-3 for the Spartans, while Sheldon Martin led the Raiders with a 2-for-3 showing of his own.
Warren East (5-7 overall, 0-1 District 14) scored on a throwing error in the top of the third to take a 1-0 lead, but South Warren (10-3, 1-0) quickly answered in the ensuing frame with an RBI triple from Martin to tie it.
The scoreboard remained knotted at 1-all up until Taylor sent a pitch from Dragoo to the shortstop area and was able to reach first base and score Trent Rice to put the Spartans in front 2-1.
“You can’t beat what he did,” Warren East coach Wes Sanford said of Dragoo’s performance. “The dude did so good – and you can’t say nothing negative about it.”
Needing at least a run to extend the game, Vernon and South Warren took the Raiders down 1-2-3 to come out on top.
“I like how we’ve been playing, but district is just a different animal and everybody kind of tightens up a little bit on both sides,” Gage said. “It is what it is – and I think that’s true at every level of the sport. Conference games are just different. It’s the way it is.”
South Warren 2, Warren East 1
WEHS – 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1
SWHS – 1 0 0 0 0 1 X — 2