Warsaw, executing well in every phase of the game, pounded past Auburn 12-2 in six innings as pool play started in the 10-team state event in Portage.
“The boys just came out and played their hearts out,” said Milligan in a phone interview Wednesday night. “They executed great and everyone did their job. It couldn’t have worked out better for us.”
“We’re going to score runs with the offense we have. It comes down to pitching and defense for us and we got both of those today.”
Warsaw built a 9-0 lead going into the sixth. Auburn scored two runs to make it 9-2 before Warsaw ended the inning on a fine catch by center fielder Drew Anderson, who turned it into an inning-ending double play. Warsaw then scored three runs in the home half of the sixth to end the game an inning early by the 10-run rule.
Gage Fannin notched the pitching win for Warsaw. The Wawasee High School junior fanned five and walked just one in going the first five innings. More importantly, he threw just 58 pitches so he is eligible to pitch again on Saturday if Warsaw advances out of pool play to the semifinals.
“The pitching scenario with Gage and his pitch count worked out well,” said Milligan. “It was just the way we wanted it to with him going under 60 pitches so he can pitch again after two days off if we advance to Saturday.”
Warsaw scored in five of the six innings in its victory. They piled up 14 hits, including five doubles, and went 5-5 in sacrifice bunt attempts. All 12 players on the roster were also able to play and contribute to the win.
Caleb Heckaman, who pitched the final inning, had three RBI for Warsaw and Fannin added two.
Milligan also cited the work of Drew Anderson, Drew Milligan, Justin Oberlin and Nik Anderson (the 8, 9, 1 and 2 hitters in his lineup) for their role in reaching base to set the table for his high-scoring offense. David Brown and Sam Silor each scored a run for the winners.
Warsaw is scheduled to play its second pool play game Thursday at 1 p.m. (Warsaw time) back at Portage. Pool play continues Friday with the semifinals and championship game slated for Saturday.