Better late than never.
The Warrington A’s were supposed to debut on May 23. A combination of Central Bucks South’s deep playoff run – many A’s starters also played for the Titans – and rain outs pushed … and pushed … and pushed Opening Day all the way to June 22.
It was worth the wait. Warrington mercy ruled Pottstown (0-11) 14-1 and 15-4 in a Saturday doubleheader Opening night sweep. The A’s (4-0) stayed hot, sweeping the Nor-Gwyn Hawks 8-3 and 9-6 in a Sunday doubleheader at Barness Park.
R.J. Agriss’ RBI single gave Nor-Gwyn (6-4) an early 1-0 game one lead. Warrington responded with a four-spot in the bottom of the first. Catcher K.J. Halgren scored on a wild pitch, Ryan Rieber hit an RBI groundout and both Mike Marino and pitcher Kevin Gillard knocked RBI singles.
Gillard scored Rieber with a third inning double to make the game 7-1. “In high school, I didn’t hit much,” Gillard admitted. “I wanted to come out here and rake. That just happened today.”
Four times, Marino came up with Jake Trachtenberg in scoring position. Three times, Marino brought him home. Trachtenberg, who had a single and a double, hustled from second to score on a fourth inning Marino single. Marino’s grounder plated Trachtenberg in the second.
“I tried to get the runner over. Anything to the right side is going to get the runner in,” Marino said.
Warrington batters fanned just twice in their first 24 plate appearances. “They had been off for a full week and came off a real high two weeks ago,” manager Bob Rossi said, “so it was important that they have good at-bats and put the ball in play. When you do that, good things happen and we were able to squeeze out some runs.”
Halgren and Trachtenberg hit consecutive singles in the second. When Trachtenberg stole second, Halgren stole home to put Warrington up 5-1.
“We saw the same situation earlier when I was on third,” Halgren explained. “They threw it through with no cut off man. When I recognized that, I knew I had the speed to get to home. It was picking up things through the game that helped us win.”
Gillard threw a complete game, striking out four. “One thing Coach Rossi stresses is changing up your looks so runners can’t get big leads and I think that helped a lot,” Gillard said. “K.J. did a good job behind the plate keeping balls in front of him.”
Gillard’s complete game was Warrington’s third straight. Bryan Rossi and Anthony Yermolov both went the distance on Saturday. “Complete games are huge and it’s nice to see the guys step up,” the skipper offered. “Gillard pitched outstanding and he is not a normal guy in the rotation for South.”
Defensively, center fielder Lew Meringo made a nifty, diving grab for a second inning out. Halgren anchored a 5-2-3 double play in the third that prevented a run when third sacker Owen Petrich nailed Jeffrey Sabater at the plate on a force play.
“We said on the mound that on a ball hit on the ground, we’re turning two,” Halgren offered. “Owen is very heads-up. He could have tagged third and thrown across but I knew if the ball came home, we had enough time to throw to first.”
Warrington scored 46 runs in its opening four games. “Everyone is really hitting right now,” Marino observed. “We’re all locked in. We’re just off of the high school season and we never really stopped playing. We have about eight players from CB South so we’re all used to playing with each other. Some other guys hopped in and didn’t miss a beat.”
The A’s were back in action at the Doylestown Tigers on Wednesday night. Results were unavailable at press time.