COLORADO SPRINGS – The Ohio Warhawks knew they had the firepower — all they needed was the spark to get it started.
For the early part of their second pool play matchup at the Pathway Games held at Security Service Field (Sky Sox Stadium) on Thursday, it couldn’t be found. The Warhawks simply weren’t themselves, committing simple errors and were virtually silent at the plate.
Slammers-Conican appeared to be heading to an easy rout unless the Warhawks flipped the script. That’s when Ben Brooks delivered the hit that woke up their bats, powering the Warhawks to a comeback 6-4 victory to begin the 18u baseball tournament 2-0 after the first day of competition.
“We got in the dugout and told each other that we were a lot better than how we were playing,” Brooks said. “From then on, we created energy through swinging the sticks and came alive late. It was contagious.”
Brooks, a University of Memphis commit, finally broke his team’s silence in the fourth inning. The Warhawks were trailing 4-0 and hadn’t recorded a single hit when Brooks knocked an RBI double that scored teammate Charlie Welch (University of South Carolina commit).
That’s when things got rolling.
The Warhawks then exploded offensively in the following inning. They cycled through their entire batting lineup and rattled off six hits to take control. Gage Hughes highlighted the frame with an RBI double that scored Datren Bray (Gordon College commit) and a run of his own to cap off the five-run inning.
“This is one of the first times we’ve had all of our young guys together, and I think that shows out there sometimes,” coach Ron Slusher said. “We had to get away from that showcase baseball, weekend-warrior type stuff and play our game.”
Slammers-Cronican, on the other hand, wrote the exact opposite storyline as they started off impressive on both sides of the ball before the Warhawks made their run.
The Slammers appeared to have broken the game open with four runs in the second inning to establish an early lead. They recorded four hits in the frame, two of which were for extra bases including Aaron Berkhoff’s RBI double. Riley Cornelio, a Texas Christian University commit, added an RBI of his own, while Sam Ireland, Grant Magill and Blake Hart all contributed one run each.
Slammers-Cronican (0-1) were slated for a second pool play game against Slammers-Martin later Thursday evening.
The Ohio Warhawks also notched an 8-2 win against the Marucci Bears earlier Thursday. The top three teams from Pool A, as well as the best team from Pool B, will advance to Saturday’s championship bracket.
“We had some ups and downs from both games, but we did enough to get the wins,” Brooks said. “I’ve never been to Colorado, not sure if anyone on the team even has, so this is a great opportunity for us at this tournament.”