Garnica leads Warriors past Halstead Dragons

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Marion-Florence/Peabody-Burns baseball team split a pair of game against Halstead last Thursday.

The Warriors dropped the opener 11-2, but bounced back behind a strong pitching performance from Clayton Garnica to win the second game 3-1.

“This was a good way to go into the Easter break, that’s for sure,” coach Shaun Craft said.

In the opener, starter Clinton Jeffery took the loss with relief help from Cody Weerts.

After the Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Todd Woodruff run-scoring single, Halstead got to Jeffery for five runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead.

Preston Williams drove in the Warriors’ other run in the fourth inning. But Halstead added four runs in the seventh and finished with a seven-hit attack.

“I was actually pleased with the way our defense played,” said Craft, whose team committed four errors. “(Halstead) just hit the ball to the gaps.”

The Warriors finished with six hits.

“We left a lot of runners on base and we just couldn’t get that clutch hit when we needed it,” Craft said.

Garnica dominated Game 2. The senior left-hander throttled Halstead on four hits and one earned run while striking out four in the complete-game win.

“Clayton just pitched great,” Craft said. “He threw about 70 percent strikes using a fastball and sneaking a curve in once in a while. He had excellent control and kept the ball low and away from the hitters in the strike zone.”

After the Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, Halstead scored its only run in the top of the fourth. But in the bottom half of the inning, Garnica belted a run-scoring triple to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead that swelled to 3-1 by the end of the inning.

That’s all the run support Garnica needed as he shut down the Dragons to give the Warriors the much needed win.

“Garnica was kind of the main man for us,” Craft said. “He did it on both sides of the ball, hitting and pitching.”

The Warriors had five hits in the game. With the split, the Warriors are 2-6 for the season.

Coming-The Warriors step out of the league Tuesday when they travel to Salina to battle a familiar nemesis, Sacred Heart.

On Thursday, the Warriors are back in MCAA play as they travel to Lindsborg to tangle with Smoky Valley.

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