BOYS MINORS: The next level: Minors Americans drop Section 1 opener

UNION CITY – A rough opening inning was the ultimate difference in the Warren Boys Minors Americans’ Section 1 Tournament opening 6-3 loss to Clarion, Monday, in Union City.

While the loss is certainly not what the Americans were looking for, they are more than alive in the round robin style tournament. Warren returns to action at 6 p.m., Tuesday, facing the loser of Monday’s late game between General McLane and Harborcreek. The result of that game was not available at press time.

Clarion started the game with a strong collection of base hits and patient at-bats. The team’s first six batters reached base in the bottom of the first inning and all came around to score before Micah Passmore took the mound in relief. Passmore delivered a huge strikeout to keep the game from getting too out of hand early on.

The Americans began to find their stride in the top of the third, cutting the lead in half with a three-run effort. Timely hits from Hunter Loomis and Ben Salapek helped Warren carve its way back into the contest.

After Loomis led off the inning with a single, Ben Berdine, Max Conklin, Ryan Rafalski and Passmore drew four consecutive walks to put the Americans on the board and load the bases. Salapek cashed in one run with an RBI single, but Clarion was able to work out of the jam and maintain a three-run cushion.

The Americans gave the home team one last scare in the top of the sixth inning, starting with another leadoff single from the bat of Loomis. Clarion’s Hayden Callen picked up a pair of strikeouts before reaching his pitch count for the afternoon, giving way to Ethan Burford to close out the game.

Walks of Gustafson and Rafalski put the tying run on first base for Warren, but Burford settled in, forcing a pop fly to the shortstop to end the game.

Gustafson, Passmore, Salapek, Loomis and Jacob DeSimone all toed the slab for the locals. Loomis and Salapek led the way offensively with a pair of hits each and Ethan Wilson’s two-out single in the top of the fourth inning was the only other hit for the Americans.