SELINSGROVE — With not much information on his opponent, Griffen Harrington struggled a bit on the mound early.
Three straight singles by Orwigsburg in the top of the first had the Warrior Run pitcher in a little trouble right away in the Section 3 Tournament.
However, a strange double play got Harrington out of the inning, and that turned out to be the last chance for the Orwigsburg offense.
Harrington allowed just one more hit the rest of the way, striking out 15 and not walking a batter, as Warrior Run knocked off Orwigsburg, 4-0, at DeWire Field at East Snyder Park on Saturday.
“I only threw two balls in the bullpen out of the 24 pitches I threw to warm up,” Harrington said. “I knew coming into the game I felt pretty sharp.”
“He did an unbelievable job just pounding the zone,” Warrior Run manager Derrick Zechman said. “He had the curveball working. He was mixing both of them so well.”
Warrior Run (6-1) will face Keystone — a 10-3 winner over Roosevelt Trail Little League in the other opening round game — today at noon. Orwigsburg and Roosevelt Trail play at 2 p.m. today in the elimination bracket.
Aidan Grace, Ty Kaunas and Ben Kreitzer each singled with one out in the first for Orwigsburg to load the bases. The next hitter struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher. The batter never moved out of the batter’s box after striking out, and was called for interference, which was the third out to end the inning.
Warrior Run then took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Harrington reached with two outs on a dropped fly ball by the center fielder. Brayden Gower made Orwigsburg pay with a double to the left-center field fence to give Warrior Run the lead.
“We got fortunate to take advantage of a miscue and get some momentum early,” Zechman said. “Getting the run early really took the pressure of the kids.”
Both pitchers — Harrington and Orwigsburg’s Aidan Glace — settled into a groove after the first inning. Glace retired eight in a row into the fourth inning, while Harrington proceeded to struck out 14 of the next 15 Orwigsburg hitters.
“After the first inning, I started working more on the outside part of the plate,” Harrington said. “I was trying to stay away from the inside part of the plate, because they were turning on it and hitting it.”
The only hitter to reach against Harrington after the first inning was Orwigsburg’s No. 9 hitter Sam Walborn. Walborn singled to open the third. After two strikeouts, Walborn tried a delayed steal of second, but Harrington ran from the rubber to second base to tag him out for the final out of the third. It was Orwigsburg’s final runner of the game.
Warrior Run broke up Glace’s run of eight straight retired when Gower reached on an error and Zamir Keyes singled with two outs in the fourth, but Warrior Run couldn’t break through.
Warrior Run finally gave itself some insurance in the bottom of the fifth. Kaden Harris walked and Gabe Engel sacrificed him to second. After the second out of the inning, Chase Knarr singled to put runners on the corners. That brought Harrington to the plate, who blasted a three-run homer over the center-field fence to give himself all the breathing room he needed.
“I knew he was going mainly fastball, because he hadn’t thrown me much junk,” Harrington said. “I just sat on fastball, and I got one and hit it.”
In the top of the sixth, Harrington got back-to-back strikeouts to open the inning before Glace groundout to third to end the game, the only groundball out recorded by Warrior Run in the game.
MAJOR DIVISION BASEBALL
SECTION 3 TOURNAMENT
at DeWire Field
East Snyder Park, Selinsgrove
WARRIOR RUN 4, ORWIGSBURG 0
Orwigsburg`000`000 — 0-4-2
Warrior Run`100`03x — 4-5-0
Aidan Glace and Hunter Blakenhorn. Griffen Harrington and Gabe Engel.
WP: Harrington. LP: Glace.
Warrior Run: Harrington 1-for-3, homer (5th, two on), 2 runs, 3 RBIs; Brayden Gower 2-for-3, double, RBI.