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Dragons impressive in opening win over Meadville

Warren shortstop Nate Betts throws to first to complete a double play during his team’s 6-2 win over Meadville on Wednesday.

A fourth-inning rally helped Warren begin the season on a high note with a 6-2 win over Meadville in non-region action Wednesday at Old Legion Field.

After falling behind 2-0 early in the game, the Dragon bats broke out on the second trip through the lineup. Warren plated five runs in the bottom of the fourth and manufactured another in the fifth while pitching and defense helped keep Meadville in check the rest of the way.

“Not bad for our first game,” said Warren coach Rick Eaton. “The bats struggled a little early with just having a good philosophy — hitting the ball in the middle of the field and adjusting. After that we had a pretty good inning.”

Matt Leonard started on the mound and pitched four innings before giving the ball up to Seth Baldensperger, who closed out the game with three scoreless frames. The two combined to issue just two free passes, and Baldensperger kept the Bulldogs without a hit in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

“The pitching was decent,” Eaton said.

Warren’s Matt Leonard delivers a pitch during the second inning of Wednesday’s game against Meadville at Old Legion Field. Leonard worked four innings in a 6-2 win.

“(Meadville) strung a couple hits together, executed a bunt and scored a couple runs in the second inning. We came back and didn’t give them any more the rest of the way. Seth came in and threw well.”

Colby Johnson led off Warren’s half of the fourth with a single and scored from first when Aidan Morrison doubled to deep left field. Baldensperger dropped a single into shallow center and Austyn Cummings drew a walk to load the bases, and Nate Betts followed with a single through the left side to bring in two more runs.

The Bulldogs got their first out of the inning when Lance Baldensperger dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up to second and third. Warren wasn’t done yet as Leonard brought in Cummings with a fielder’s choice and Betts scored on a passed ball to make it 5-2.

The Dragons added another run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth when Cummings doubled in Owen Balas, who had taken over as a courtesy runner after Morrison was hit by a pitch.

Meadville couldn’t close the gap despite putting runners on base in the fifth and sixth, and Seth Baldensperger set the Bulldogs down in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win.

Warren’s Owen Balas hustles around third for a run during the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game against Meadville.

Warren’s infield helped the cause with two inning-ending double plays while Johnson and Lance Baldensperger robbed a pair of would-be Meadville hits with great plays in the outfield.

Seth Baldensperger went 2-for-3 to lead the Dragons at the plate.

Weather permitting, Wednesday’s win kicked off a busy schedule for Warren with a home scrimmage against Eisenhower on Thursday and a trip to Oil City on Friday.

“It’s nice to be playing on March 29 and having been out on the field,” Eaton said. “We’ve been out here about a dozen times, so it’s nice to get a ballgame in. We start our region schedule next Wednesday already, so we want to get everything we can in.”

MEADVILLE (2): Mumau 2-0-0-0, Cappellino 1-0-1-1, Neugabauer 0 0-0 0, Ferraro 3-0-0-0, Beck 1-1-0-0, Redding 2-0-0-0, Stewart 0-0-0-0, Mook 3-1-1-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Frantz 3-0-0-0, Knox 2-0-0-1, Rinella 3-0-0-0, Burchard 2-0-1-0. Totals 22-2-3-2.

Warren third baseman Mitch Grosch throws to first for an out during Wednesday’s win over Meadville.

WARREN (6): Betts 3-1-1-2, Rafalski 0-0-0-0, Johnson 3-1-1-0, Cummings 2-1-1-1, Morrison 2-0-1-1, Grosch 2-0-0-0, L. Baldensperger 2-0-1-0, Knapp 1-0-0-0, Balas 0-2-0-0, Blair 1-0-0-0, S. Baldenpserger 3-1-2-0, White 0-0-0-0, Irwin 1-0-0-0, Leonard 2-0-0-1. Totals 22-6-7-5.

Meadville 020 000 0 — 2 3 0

Warren 000 510 x — 6 7 2

2B – Cummings (W), Morrison (W). WP – Leonard. LP – Burchard. SV – S. Baldensperger.

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Junior Varsity

Warren’s JV team picked up a 10-1 win over Meadville.

Ryan Rafalski finished with two hits and drove in three runs for the Dragons while Adam Munksgard and Owen Balas both finished with two hits and two RBI.

Nick Hussey struck out six batters in three innings of work on the mound.

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