Nelson’s Big Night Propels Warsaw To NLC Championship

May 13, 2024 at 8:15 p.m.
Stretching off the mound, Warsaw junior pitcher Brandt Martin throws to the plate during Monday evening’s home game against Concord. Photo by Gary Nieter
Stretching off the mound, Warsaw junior pitcher Brandt Martin throws to the plate during Monday evening’s home game against Concord. Photo by Gary Nieter

By CONNOR MCCANN Sports Editor

Warsaw baseball’s Monday night home game against Concord was a momentous one for a number of reasons. First, it was Senior Night, and four seniors were honored before the game for their careers at Warsaw. Next, a win over the Minutemen would clinch the Northern Lakes Conference title outright for the Tigers. On a night dedicated to the seniors, it was freshman Grady Nelson’s big night that helped Warsaw win 7-3 for the championship.
“It’s a culmination of all the hard work that these guys have put in all season long,” Warsaw head coach Andy Manes said. “As coaches, yeah, we wave them around and set the lineups but this trophy belongs to our players. They’re the ones that got us here and we’re hoping to continue this ride for as long as we can.”
The first inning was a piece of cake for Warsaw starter Brandt Martin, as he retired the top of the Concord lineup in order. He got some help from his defense, as Wyatt Stapleton made an incredible leaping grab at shortstop for the second out of the game. Three straight hits by the Tigers would turn into three runs in the blink of an eye. Singles by seniors Khareus Miller and Logan O’Malley put two runners on base for the freshman Nelson, who did the rest, blasting a ball over the right field fence and onto the hood of a parked car for a three-run home run.
“That kid is a game changer. We were facing a really good pitcher tonight and for him to start that game off with that bomb, it set the tone and got us going for the rest of the game,” Manes said. “Grady is already such a special player and I can only imagine how much better he’s going to continue to get.”

    Lowering his shoulder into the ball, freshman Grady Nelson of Warsaw powers the ball over the right field fence for a three-run homer in the first inning...Nieter


The Minutemen responded well in the top of the second, getting onto the scoreboard themselves to tighten things up. A single and a walk to the first two hitters of the inning put two men on, while a sacrifice bunt put them both in scoring position. Concord would score its first run of the game on a groundout, then added a second on a balk by Martin, making it a one-run game. Warsaw did not score its next trip up, putting two men on with a single by Quinton Brock and a walk to Miller.
Martin got back into a groove when he got back on the mound, going 1-2-3 to put the Minutemen down in order. The first out of the inning came on a dugout interference call against Concord. Nelson stayed hot at the plate in the bottom of the third, leading the frame off with a single up the middle. He’d steal second and make it to third on a wild pitch. He’d eventually come in to score after Kellan Bailey, who walked, got into a run down between first and second and gave the freshman enough time to make it home. Heading into the fourth, the Tigers were now up two.
Martin gave up a two-out single in the top of the fourth, but it wouldn’t amount to any damage as the next Concord hitter flew out to right field to end the inning. A pair of walks in the bottom half of the frame brought up Nelson in another big situation with two outs, but Stapleton was picked off of second base to put the threat to bed.
Martin picked up his third strikeout of the game in the top of the fifth inning, part of another perfect frame in which the junior retired the Concord hitters in order. The pickoff that occurred an inning earlier would prove to be a costly one, as Nelson singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, a hit into right field that would have scored Stapleton from second. Nelson would come around and score himself on a play similar to the third inning, as a rundown in between first and second freed the freshman up to be able to book it home. Heading into the sixth, the Tigers had regained their three-run lead.
Oliver Nisen relieved Martin of his duties on the mound in the top of the sixth, and got into a little bit of trouble after giving up a leadoff single and then a walk with two outs. With runners on the corners, Concord’s Noah Norwood blooped one into right for an RBI single, but the inning was ended anyways as Nelson continued his massive day with an amazing throw from right to third base to throw out the lead runner.
The Tigers would get that run right back though, as a pair of walks would put Stapleton in scoring position, and who else but Nelson would come up to bring him home on a single into shallow center field. Warsaw would add a second run in the sixth as O’Malley raced home to score on a wild pitch, giving the Tigers a four-run cushion with three outs to go for the conference crown.
They’d get it done without any issues, as Nisen shut the door on the Concord offense to seal the deal on an outright NLC championship.
Warsaw (20-5, 12-1 NLC) will wrap up conference play Wednesday at home against Mishawaka.

Warsaw baseball’s Monday night home game against Concord was a momentous one for a number of reasons. First, it was Senior Night, and four seniors were honored before the game for their careers at Warsaw. Next, a win over the Minutemen would clinch the Northern Lakes Conference title outright for the Tigers. On a night dedicated to the seniors, it was freshman Grady Nelson’s big night that helped Warsaw win 7-3 for the championship.
“It’s a culmination of all the hard work that these guys have put in all season long,” Warsaw head coach Andy Manes said. “As coaches, yeah, we wave them around and set the lineups but this trophy belongs to our players. They’re the ones that got us here and we’re hoping to continue this ride for as long as we can.”
The first inning was a piece of cake for Warsaw starter Brandt Martin, as he retired the top of the Concord lineup in order. He got some help from his defense, as Wyatt Stapleton made an incredible leaping grab at shortstop for the second out of the game. Three straight hits by the Tigers would turn into three runs in the blink of an eye. Singles by seniors Khareus Miller and Logan O’Malley put two runners on base for the freshman Nelson, who did the rest, blasting a ball over the right field fence and onto the hood of a parked car for a three-run home run.
“That kid is a game changer. We were facing a really good pitcher tonight and for him to start that game off with that bomb, it set the tone and got us going for the rest of the game,” Manes said. “Grady is already such a special player and I can only imagine how much better he’s going to continue to get.”

    Lowering his shoulder into the ball, freshman Grady Nelson of Warsaw powers the ball over the right field fence for a three-run homer in the first inning...Nieter


The Minutemen responded well in the top of the second, getting onto the scoreboard themselves to tighten things up. A single and a walk to the first two hitters of the inning put two men on, while a sacrifice bunt put them both in scoring position. Concord would score its first run of the game on a groundout, then added a second on a balk by Martin, making it a one-run game. Warsaw did not score its next trip up, putting two men on with a single by Quinton Brock and a walk to Miller.
Martin got back into a groove when he got back on the mound, going 1-2-3 to put the Minutemen down in order. The first out of the inning came on a dugout interference call against Concord. Nelson stayed hot at the plate in the bottom of the third, leading the frame off with a single up the middle. He’d steal second and make it to third on a wild pitch. He’d eventually come in to score after Kellan Bailey, who walked, got into a run down between first and second and gave the freshman enough time to make it home. Heading into the fourth, the Tigers were now up two.
Martin gave up a two-out single in the top of the fourth, but it wouldn’t amount to any damage as the next Concord hitter flew out to right field to end the inning. A pair of walks in the bottom half of the frame brought up Nelson in another big situation with two outs, but Stapleton was picked off of second base to put the threat to bed.
Martin picked up his third strikeout of the game in the top of the fifth inning, part of another perfect frame in which the junior retired the Concord hitters in order. The pickoff that occurred an inning earlier would prove to be a costly one, as Nelson singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, a hit into right field that would have scored Stapleton from second. Nelson would come around and score himself on a play similar to the third inning, as a rundown in between first and second freed the freshman up to be able to book it home. Heading into the sixth, the Tigers had regained their three-run lead.
Oliver Nisen relieved Martin of his duties on the mound in the top of the sixth, and got into a little bit of trouble after giving up a leadoff single and then a walk with two outs. With runners on the corners, Concord’s Noah Norwood blooped one into right for an RBI single, but the inning was ended anyways as Nelson continued his massive day with an amazing throw from right to third base to throw out the lead runner.
The Tigers would get that run right back though, as a pair of walks would put Stapleton in scoring position, and who else but Nelson would come up to bring him home on a single into shallow center field. Warsaw would add a second run in the sixth as O’Malley raced home to score on a wild pitch, giving the Tigers a four-run cushion with three outs to go for the conference crown.
They’d get it done without any issues, as Nisen shut the door on the Concord offense to seal the deal on an outright NLC championship.
Warsaw (20-5, 12-1 NLC) will wrap up conference play Wednesday at home against Mishawaka.

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