Dragons drop back-and-forth thriller to HC

HARBOR CREEK, Pa. – One great comeback deserved another in Thursday’s Region 7 showdown between Warren and Harbor Creek.

In what has become one of District 10’s best baseball rivalries, it seemed only fitting.

With his team trailing 3-0 with two on and one out in the top of the seventh, Warren’s Ben Berdine stepped to the plate and tied the game with one swing of his bat, a 3-run bomb to left. Later in the inning, Lance Baldensperger drove in James Swanson to give Warren a 4-3 lead against Casey Smith, who relieved his brother Cody after the latter went 6 1/3 innings before reaching the 100-pitch limit.

The Huskies had the final answer, however, as Cam Williamson led off the bottom of the seventh with a double and, after Ryan Rafalski got a strikeout, Aiden Kelly hit a walk-off home run, his second of the game.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Rafalski, who pitched well and gave up a home run on what would have been a routine fly ball at home.

Harbor Creek (5-3 overall, 3-0 Region 7) led 1-0 going into the fifth, when Cam Miller and Kelly hit back-to-back homers to make it 3-0.

The home runs make Rafalski’s outing a bit deceiving, but he was very good, striking out nine and allowing just one walk.

On the other side, Warren’s lineup could do little against Cody Smith.

Mitch Grosch doubled with two outs in the first, but Smith got Aidan Morrison to ground out to keep the Dragons (4-3, 1-2) off the board.

Smith wasn’t threatened again until the fifth, when Rafalski led off with a single and pinch-runner Ryan Arnold stole second. He was able to strike out the side after that, however.

He retired the side in order in the sixth, but with one out in the seventh, Micah Passmore singled and Rafalski walked for the second time on Smith’s 100th and final pitch of the game, setting up the dramatics from Berdine.

Swanson followed with a single, advanced to second on an error and scored on Baldensperger’s 2-out single. The Dragons nearly added on after Austyn Cummings walked and Grosch was hit by pitch, but he was able to induce a flyout to end the inning.

All three Dragon losses this season have come by one run.

They look to rebound on Saturday at McDowell.

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Baldensperger cf 4-0-2-1, Cummings lf 3-0-0-0, Grosch ss 3-0-1-0, Morrison c 4-0-0-0, Passmore 3b 3-1-1-0, Rafalsk p 1-1-1-0, Berdine 1b 3-1-1-3, Swanson rf 3-1-1-0, Loomis dh 2-0-0-0, Gustafson 2b 1-0-0-0, Totals 27-47-4


Vaughn cf-rf 2-0-1-1, Ca. Smith ss-p 3-0-0-0, Co. Smith p-cf 3-0-1-0, Kaiser 1b 3-0-0-0, Lucas dh-2b 3-0-0-0, Williamson c 3-1-1-0, Miller 3b 3-1-1-1, Kelly 2b-ss 3-3-3-3, Moasbacher lf 1-0-0-0, Totals 24-5-7-5

Warren 000 000 4 – 4 7 0

Harbor Creek 001 020 2 – 5 7 2

HBP – Grosch (by Co. Smith). SB – Arnold (W). 2B – Grosch (W), Co. Smith (H), Willamson (H). HR – Kelly (H) 2, Berdine (W), Miller (H)



Rafalski (L, 1-3) 6 1/3 7 5 5 1 9

Harbor Creek

Co. Smith 6 1/3 4 2 2 2 9

Ca. Smith (BS, W 1-1) 2/3 3 2 2 1 1

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The Dragon JV team put on another impressive offensive display.

Tyler Gustafson had three hits, including a double, three RBIs and scored three runs, Alex Borger drilled a 3-run home run, Hunter Loomis had two doubles and two RBIs, J.T. Blum notched three hits and Bryce Blair had a double two runs scored and an RBI.

James Swanson and Loomis each went two innings on the mound, while Ryan Arnold also tossed an inning.