Sean Bradley of Warriors Baseball PA Black steps on home plate after hitting two-run home run.
By Sean Reilly
The Warriors Baseball Black may have been making its Diamond Nation debut on Saturday morning, but pitcher Liam Sherwood had prior experience at the facility playing for a different team.
“I played here last year,” he said. “It’s a nice complex.”
Aside from appreciating the facility, he also knows that with tournaments at ‘The Nation’ loaded with competitive teams, opening-game victories set an important tone for the rest of the weekend.
“It’s really important to play well to get a lead in your pool,” he said.
Sherwood scattered six hits while pitching a complete game, coming within two outs of a shutout, as his Pennsylvania team beat Baseball U PA Pocono, 4-1, for an opening-game victory at the Home Run Classic in Flemington.
The Warriors followed with a 22-0 victory over the High Heat Baseball Rookies, to be in position for a first-place pool finish entering a Sunday matchup against Sportika Baseball 11U Red (1-1).
Sherwood struck out four and walked none in his solid performance. His teammates backed him with error-free defense and the offense featured a two-run home run by Sean Bradley for a 4-0 third-inning lead.
“My mechanics were helping me and my change-up was doing really well,” he said. “We played great defense. We definitely needed that. Without that, we probably would have been down a few runs. Sean’s home run also made everyone excited and it really woke us up. It also made my job easier.”
The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second after Jacob Borneman hit a one-out sacrifice fly to center field to score Logan Chamness, who led off the inning with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a single to left field by Chase Keeler.
The Warriors scored their other runs in the third. Zach Taylor led off with a full-count single to left field. Cohen Stanley walked, and a wild pitch put the runners on second and third with Bradley at the plate. Another wild pitch scored Taylor. The count then went full before Bradley powered a two-run home run beyond the fence in left-center.
“I was looking for a fastball and I got one,” he said. “It felt good because we were only up by two runs.”
Sherwood, meanwhile, was literally in control by walking no one and allowing a total of three singles from the second through fifth innings.
Cal Horan hit a one-out grounds rule double to center with one out in the sixth for Baseball U and Kash Kromko followed with an RBI double to left, marking the only time in the game that Baseball U had consecutive base runners. But Sherwood worked out of further trouble to complete his impressive win.
Keeler finished 2-for-2 with a walk for the Warriors.
Horan and Kaiden Cunniffe both went 2-for-3 for Baseball U, which began its day with a 10-6 decision over Sportika Baseball 11U Red.