Warde baseball rolls past Central
Published 9:00 am, Thursday, April 20, 2017
FAIRFIELD - After six straight losses to open the season, Warde was looking to build on the momentum of its first victory on Monday against St. Joseph.
Boy, did they.
The Mustangs banged out 14 hits, hitting three home runs, along with stealing six bases and using seven Central errors to run over the Hilltoppers 17-0 Wednesday afternoon at the Warde field, a game that was called in the bottom of the sixth due to rain.
“I’m glad to see that our guys had good at-bats, more guys got opportunities, it was a chance to see other guys that don’t often get an opportunity,” Warde coach Brett Conner said. “The guys played the game the way it should be played, they came up, had good at-bats, the pitchers were outstanding and our defense was too. These are things that we’ve been preaching all season.”
To say that Warde had struggled early on would be an understatement. The Mustangs had allowed 55 runs in its opening six losses as Conner worked to find the right chemistry. A win over St. Joseph on Monday finally got the Mustangs in the win column and against Central - who’s also struggling to find the right chemistry - Warde put it all together.
“We’re an inexperienced, young team,” Conner said. “but they’re starting to buy into the culture and the philosophy that this is bigger than themselves. They’re putting together better practice habits and starting to understand that they need to work a lot harder.”
Will Mitola, Giacomo Brancato and Ryan Donnelly hit home runs for the Mustangs. Mitola hit a two-run shot in the first, Brancato hammered a three-run blast in the fourth and Donnelly had a three-run shot in the fourth.
“It definitely feels good to win another one,” Brancato said, who went 2 for 3 on the day with three RBI, four runs scored and two stolen bases. “This is a good momentum booster heading into Westhill on Friday.”
Mitola also went 2 for 3 with a home run, a triple, four runs scored and two RBI.
“This was definitely a very important game for us, we’re coming off a win against St. Joseph and it was nice to carry that momentum into today,” Mitola said. “It’s always good to get everyone into the game and get everyone involved.”
Mark Garcia started for Warde and pitched four innings for the win, allowing just three hits while striking out four. Jacob Von der Linden pitched the fifth and Bryan Azarian the sixth, keeping the Hilltoppers in check.
Central, with just two seniors on the roster, battled the entire game but struggled with the fundamentals, making seven errors and only managing three hits.
“That’s the biggest thing that we’re seeing,” Central coach Joe Pagan said. “We have talent but it’s just being in these situations, especially at the varsity level, it’s tough. A lot of these kids are basically being thrown into the fire and we have to see how they react. I would just like to see them compete a little more.”
Mitola’s two-run homer in the first gave Warde the early lead and the Mustangs sent 15 men to the plate in the third, scoring nine runs to blow the game open. Mitola had an RBI triple while Max Lee and Ryan Donnelly had an RBI singles, Tommy O’Connell had an RBI walk, Quinn Hermann and Finn Mobley had RBI sacrifice flies and Owen Polley had a two-RBI single.
Brancato’s three-run homer made it 14-0 in the fourth and Donnelly’s three-run shot three batters later pushed the margin to 17-0.
“I was just trying to play my game,” Brancato said.
“I think we’re really starting to click right now,” added Mitola. “We’re starting to establish ourselves and we’re ready to play anyone.”