Winning Track: Americans rebound in Section 1 Boys Minors pool play with big win over General McLane

By BEN OVIATT

jsitler@timesobserver.com

One bad inning on Monday doomed the Warren Boys Minors Americans in the first game of the Section 1 Tournament in Union City.

This time, it was their turn.

Warren scored 10 runs in the second inning of Tuesday’s game en route to a 15-9 win over General McLane in the pool play tournament. The Americans move to 1-1, and will take on Harborcreek Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the final game of pool play. While a loss wouldn’t necessarily end Warren’s season, a win would put the team toward the top of the field. The top two teams after Wednesday will play for the Section 1 title on Thursday in Union City.

Just as Clarion did on Monday, McLane gave the Americans all they could handle in the first inning of Tuesday afternoon’s contest. The visitors stormed out to an early lead on an RBI single and a sacrafice fly to take a 2-0 advantage. A ball in the right-centerfield gap brought in one more, but Ryan Rafalski was able to relay the ball from right fielder Ethan Wilson to third baseman Tyler Gustafson, who applied the tag for out number three.

After recording the final out of McLane’s inning, Gustafson started the Warren rally with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first. Micah Passmore knocked in his teammate with an RBI single, and Ben Salapek walked to set the stage for Hunter Loomis. The Americans’ starting pitcher helped his own cause with a double to score both runners, tying the game at 3-3.

A pair of McLane runs in the top of the second put Warren behind once again, though it wouldn’t last long.

Ben Berdine and Gustafson reached base to start the inning, and both came in when a sacrafice bunt from Rafalski was thrown away to even the score once again. Rafalski made his way to third on the play, and came home on a passed ball before a single from Salapek and back-to-back walks to Jacob DeSimone and Loomis packed the bases full of Americans.

Max Conklin was hit by a pitch to bring one run home, and another passed ball allowed James Swanson to score, making it a 8-5 lead in favor of Warren.

Alex Borger walked to load the bases again, and Berdine drove in Loomis in his second at-bat of the inning as the visitors struggled to make a play in the field. Conklin came home on a passed ball, and an infield single off the bat of Gustafson brought in Borger and Berdine. One more crossed the plate for the Americans when Rafalski connected on an RBI single – his third RBI of the inning – to give his team a 13-5 lead.

Two more McLane runs were erased by Warren in the third when Loomis scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Conklin and Borger raced home on a wild pitch.

Those were the last runs the Americans would see in the game, but the output was more than enough for Rafalski, Berdine and Passmore, who held McLane to a pair of runs over the last three innings. Loomis earned credit for the win as the first of five pitchers to take the hill for Warren, working an inning and two-thirds before giving way to DeSimone to finish the second and third innings.

Loomis and Gustafson each had two hits for the Americans, while Passmore, Berdine, Salapek, and Rafalski contributed one hit each.

General McLane 322 110 – 9 7

Warren 3(10)2 00x – 15 8

2b-Dane Jukes (M), Austin Moore (M), Tyler Gustafson (W), Hunter Loomis (W). WP-Loomis. LP-Eli Bruce.