Warren East edges Cumberland County, 1-0
After the 2017 Region 4 Baseball Tournament opened with three-straight unbalanced quarterfinal decisions, Warren East and Cumberland County went to war in the final game of Monday’s opening round slate at Nick Denes Field.
The Raiders, playing in their first Region 4 postseason contest since June 1, 2011, entered as the heavy favorite. However, Cumberland County showed the many fans in attendance what it was capable of – being able to match-up with one of the region’s hottest teams.
Panthers’ senior pitcher Levi Owens only allowed East – a powerful hitting club – to finish with four hits on the day. On the opposite side of the field, Warren East senior Clay Wagoner also allowed just four hits. Although both competed at a high level, Wagoner was able to earn a 1-0 win – thanks to one of his teammates’ clutch hit.
“All the credit to Levi Owens – he pitched a heckuva game today,” Wagoner said. “He’s a good pitcher. He competed and he made me be at my best today. I had to compete to give my team a chance to win.”
With Baylor signee Davion Downey on first base, junior Ty Stringfield came to the plate and sent an Owens pitch into left field for a walkoff RBI double. Not only did it wipe the sweat off the many Raider fans in attendance, but it also extended East’s season another day.
The Raiders will now meet Franklin-Simpson Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the semifinal round. East and the Wildcats met three times in the regular-season, with WE winning two out of the three meetings.
“Prepare like we do for any other game,” stated Wagoner of how he and his teammates will get ready for Franklin. “Just want to win more than the other team. Obviously it’s going to be a battle tomorrow night – and we’re gonna have to fight our hardest … and just compete.”
After six-and-a-half innings of scoreless baseball, Warren East provided the breakthrough.
With Downey on and ready to put his speed to use, Stringfield swung on a pitch down the middle and watched the ball land at the wall in left center. By the time Cumberland’s outfielders could get to the ball, Downey was already crossing the plate with a big smile on his face.
As for the Freed-Hardeman signee Wagoner, he says it was pretty special to be the victorious pitcher on WKU’s turf field.
“It’s a good feeling,” he added. “You know, with it being my senior year, I knew this could’ve been possibly my last start in a Warren East uniform tonight. “I had to come out and compete – and survive and advance once again.”
Tyler Mansfield; @TheTMansfield