By Mike Deak
WARSAW – Much of the talk in professional baseball is hot stove, hot takes and hot starts. At Boggs Park Tuesday night, it was just plain hot as the Warsaw Little League pushed forward as June prepared to flip to July.
A matchup between the Junior League Pirates and Rockies saw a pair of fireballers start the game, but had the Pirates ride the arm of a utility player to an 8-3 victory.
Caden Binkley of the Rockies and JW McCleary of the Pirates were throwing darts on the hill to start the contest. Binkley, standing well over six feet tall, struck out three in the first two innings. McCleary, not nearly as tall but getting strikes over the plate, also fanned three over his first two innings.
The Pirates struck first, however, getting its first two runners on and home after Chase Carl roped a triple as the Pirates took a 2-1 lead. Carl would later add another RBI as the Pirates raced to a four-run advantage.
“This is a really good group of kids with a lot of character, and certainly Chase is one of them,” offered Pirates coach Steven Zollinger. “You are starting to see kids get comfortable out here. Chase is a good hustle kind of player and gives it his all each time out.”
Khareus Miller would score a pair of runs for the Pirates and Corbin Johnston added an RBI late in the winning cause.
McCleary would get the win, working into the third inning, giving up just two hits. The Pirates also saw a gold star arm in Trey Koontz, who had a pair of assists. Koontz, playing in left field early on, gunned down a runner at home to end a Rockies threat, and then later as a catcher, threw a seed to second to nail a would-be stolen base attempt.
“Trey made some very nice plays, first from left throwing the kid out at the plate, then his throw down to second, those were outstanding,” Zollinger said. “Trey just had a great game. He’s a special player and really showed his ability tonight.”
The Rockies saw some production from the bottom of its order, getting a pair of runs from its last two hitters, Gaige Tittle and Jadin Richardson, who singled and walked to open its portion of the third. Braden Rios walked and scored in the second to get the Rockies on the board.