Warsaw junior Ethyn Bradley connects for a single during the first inning of Monday's game against Wawasee. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Warsaw junior Ethyn Bradley connects for a single during the first inning of Monday's game against Wawasee. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
In a back-and-forth Northern Lakes Conference opener, the weather held off, while Warsaw’s varsity baseball team held on.
On an overcast Monday afternoon that produced plenty of wind but only a few drops of rain, the host Tigers took advantage of a few key situations and beat the Wawasee Warriors 7-6.
Warsaw is now 3-2 overall, while Wawasee fell to 3-3.
“It’s a great way to start the conference,” said Warsaw coach Mike Hepler. “It’s nice to get off on the right foot, but we’ve done that a lot and fizzled out at the end. We’ve got to keep it going.”
The Tigers made sure they didn’t fizzle out after getting off to a good start Monday.
After giving up a 2-0 lead, Warsaw trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when it scored three two-out runs to regain the lead and then added to its advantage when senior Brandon Shipp blasted a two-run homer in the sixth.
“Oh my goodness, that was great to see,” Hepler said of Shipp’s shot over the fence. “I’ve been on him the last couple days about using the lower half of his body, trying to get him to work on driving the ball, and he did it there.”
The Warriors plated two runs in the seventh to make things interesting, but their rally fell short and they fell to their county and conference rival yet again.
“You can’t question these guys’ fight,” Wawasee coach Brent Doty said of his team, which scored one run in the second and three more in the fourth.
“They continue to fight and play hard in every game,” continued Doty. “No matter the score, they never feel like they’re out of it. We just hurt ourselves with a few walks or a few errors.”
Against Warsaw, the Warriors hurt themselves in the fourth inning.
After giving up a leadoff double to James Brandes, Wawasee pitcher Gage Fannin struck out Peter Shepherd and got Cole Baker to pop out.
With two outs and his team leading 4-2, however, Fannin then hit Justin Oberlin with a pitch, walked Ethyn Bradley, gave up singles to Brandon Lafollette and Caleb Moneyheffer and walked Shipp.
The Tigers scored three runs on two outs before Fannin ended the inning by getting Caleb Heckaman to line out.
“That’s kind of been happening to us, we get two quick outs and we can’t get out of the inning,” said Doty.
The Warriors pounded out nine hits in the loss, with Gage Reinhard and Bailey Hershberger leading the way with two each.
Drew Wright and Hershberger hit doubles for Wawasee.
Fannin took the loss on the mound after four innings of work in which he gave up six hits, five runs and three walks.
For Warsaw, which had nine hits in the win, Moneyheffer had three hits, while Shipp had two.
Junior Kevin Hawley earned the pitching win after tossing six innings, giving up eight hits, five runs and three walks.
Both the Tigers and Warriors are in action again Wednesday, as Warsaw travels to Goshen and Wawasee is at Elkhart Memorial.

WARSAW 7, WAWASEE 6
Waw    010    300    2    –    6
War    200    302    X    –    7
Warsaw – Kevin Hawley (W, 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K), Justin Oberlin (2/3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB), Jonathan Murphy (S, 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K)
Wawasee – Gage Fannin (L, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K), Aaron Voirol (2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K).
2B – Bailey Hershberger (Waw), Drew Wright (Waw), James Brandes (War)
HR – Brandon Shipp (War)
Records: Warsaw 3-2 (1-0 NLC), Wawasee 3-3 (0-1 NLC)
JV – Warsaw 14, Wawasee 12