Don’t tell the Warsaw Little League Senior Baseball All-Star team it doesn’t work.
The talent-laden squad, a 50-50 mix of Tigers and Warriors, capped a dominating run through the District 14 All-Star tournament Friday night.
The Warsaw-based team blasted Baugo 9-0 in the title tilt of the tourney at Edwardsburg Little League.
Gage Fannin and Caleb Heckaman combined on a five-hitter and leadoff hitter Justin Oberlin had three hits as the champions cruised to the championship.
Warsaw, which outscored its opponents 59-7 in its five victories in the District 14 tourney, advances to the 10-team State Finals at Portage. Warsaw is scheduled for pool play games Wednesday at 1 p.m., Thursday at 1 p.m. and Friday at 4 p.m.
“Coming into the tourney, we were confident we should move on and the boys just played very well the entire way,” said Warsaw manager Dave Milligan. “This team has the talent to go as far as they want to go.
“They are just an easy team to coach. From day one, they’ve come together and played as a team. There is no dissension and none of that Warsaw-Wawasee stuff with them. They all just want to play. They are confident and play hard. They all respond and this team really has no weaknesses.”Starter Gage Fannin settled in quite nicely for the champions on the hill. The right-hander after walking two of the first three hitters he faced got into a groove. Fannin allowed just four hits over six innings of work, while striking out eight and walking three. He had at least one strikeout in all six innings.
“The first inning is usually my worst and once I get past that I get comfortable and settled in,” said Fannin, who will be a junior at Wawasee this fall. “I usually get on a roll from there. It gives me a lot of confidence with the way we can score runs. I like to strike people out, but I know I don’t have to with the defense I have behind me. We just want to go as far as we can. This is a once in a lifetime thing so we want to play our hearts out and do the best we can.”
Warsaw loaded the bases in the top of the first with one out and came up empty.
That didn’t last though as the champs took a 1-0 lead in the third on a two-out, RBI triple to left by Oberlin. The hit scored No. 9 batter Drew Milligan, who had a great game at the dish with two singles, two walks and four runs scored.
Warsaw scored three times in the fourth to make it 4-0 with Fannin delivering a two-run single to center. The champs added three more in the fifth as Oberlin and Nick Anderson each had RBI singles. Warsaw closed the scoring with a pair in the sixth frame on just one hit by taking advantage of a hit batter, a walk, an error and a passed ball.
“Our strength is how we all play together and have meshed so well together,” said Oberlin, who is heading into his junior year at Warsaw Community High School. “Normally it takes us a few innings to get started like tonight, but then we are tough to stop. I felt pretty good tonight. I had been in a slump the last couple of games.”Warsaw defeated Baugo three times in the District 14 tournament.
Wes Vandervort, the No. 9 hitter, led Baugo with a two hits, including a double.