Warriors hitters struggle, eke out victory

The Post 28 Warriors gained three much-needed victories this week, in the wake of a loss to Post 8 Steevers 3-0 on July 7.
Special to the Coastal Point • ERNIE TURPIN: Kevin Van Vorst slides into second base.Special to the Coastal Point • ERNIE TURPIN:
Kevin Van Vorst slides into second base.

Two of those victories came by way of forfeit, because Central Delaware’s team couldn’t field a team for July 9 doubleheader. The Warriors then eked out a 1-0 victory over Dover’s Post 2 squad on July 12, to improve their record to 14-8 overall and 14-7 in the league.

Post 28 squandered a solid complete-game pitching performance by James Davis on July 12 and were unable to give him enough run support to warrant a win. Davis dropped to 3-1 on the season, but after having the weekend off Davis rebounded to pitch another complete game — and this time he earned a win.

Davis worked each inning quickly and allowed only two base runners and no runs the entire game (one single, one walk) while striking out six.

“James has pitched excellent for us this season,” said Head Coach Mearl Layton. “He doesn’t throw a ton and is able to stay low in the strikezone.”

Davis leads the team in innings (37) and ERA (1.91), but Layton said if you can’t score runs then a low ERA doesn’t signify much.

“Our starting rotation has an ERA of about 3.00, but if you can’t score four runs then that doesn’t mean much,” said Layton. “It comes down to putting runs on the board.”

The Warriors had 10 base runners against Post 2 Dover but stranded nine. Luckily, they would only need one run, as Davis earned his third win of the season.

After stranding at least one base runner in each of the first three innings, right-fielder Jerry Meiklejohn finally delivered a RBI single that would score shortstop Josh Dean, who reached base on a walk.

Dean reached second on a bunt-and-run fielder’s choice by seldom-used designated hitter Zach Spudis.

“Zach did a good job of moving the runner for us to put us in position to score,” said Layton.

Meiklejohn ripped the first pitch thrown at him down the first baseline to score a motoring Dean.

Meiklejohn (2-3 and a RBI) would never reach home plate because of his teammates’ impatience at the plate. Centerfielder Justin Collins popped out to the shortstop on the second pitch and leftfielder Cody Jensen hit into the fielder’s choice on the first pitch to end the inning.

The Warriors’ impatience would continue in the bottom of the fifth inning, as catcher D.J. Clark and Spudis would both get out by swinging at early pitches. Clark lined out to third on the first pitch. And with the bases loaded, Spudis grounded out to second base on the second pitch, leaving three men on base.

But the same anxiousness at the plate did earn first-baseman Kevin VanVorst a first-pitch single in the bottom of the fifth.

In the bottom of the sixth, Meiklejohn grounded out to third on a first pitch while Collins was able to slap a second pitch past the third-baseman for one of his two singles in the game.

“Right now we’re in a bit of a hitter’s block,” said Layton. “We’re going to need our hitting to come around. Lately, it seems that if one guy gets hot someone else stops hitting right down the line.”

“Their job is to get on base and let the next guy drive them in,” said Layton. “We’re getting in a lot of 0-2 and 1-2 counts, and these guys have to think, ‘What’s this guy going to do to me?’”

“These guys are taking pitches when they should swinging and swinging when they should be taking,” said Layton. “We have good hitters — now they have to start hitting as a team.”

Fortunately for the Warriors, Davis and his defense were able to secure the 1-0 victory over Post 2 Dover by working a 1-2-3 top of the seventh inning that included pop outs by Dover’s 3-4-5 hitters. Davis shut down those hitters in the top of the fourth inning before Post 28 took the lead.

VanVorst finished the day 2-3 (two singles), second baseman Colin Warner 1-2 and a walk, while Dean finished 0-1 with two walks.

Post 28 was set to travel to Post 91 on July 13 for a 6:30 p.m. game and then to host R.C. Dupont on July 17 and Dover on July 19 at Indian River High School for 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. start times, respectively.