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Prep Baseball: Wildcats win one for Colliflower

Williamsport blasts Wheaton right after teammate's funeral

May 12, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT — One by one, Williamsport’s baseball players slowly arrived in uniform having to get mentally ready to play a game Saturday afternoon.

Expecting teenagers to come from a funeral service ready to compete in an athletic event is a tall order and a difficult undertaking.

Williamsport’s players were coming from Saturday morning’s funeral service for their fallen colleague, Brendon Colliflower, who was laid to rest after being killed in a car accident last weekend.

There was time for some quick batting and infield practice, and then the show had to go on.

Williamsport players formed a ring hand-in-hand around the mound during the national anthem, honoring Colliflower, who would have been the starting pitcher in the Maryland Class 2A West first-round game against Wheaton.

“The day started horrible, but it was a day for Brendon,” said senior teammate Zach Lucas, who drew the starting assignment and pitched one scoreless inning in Williamsport’s 22-0 no-hit rout of Wheaton. “He would have enjoyed how the game went. Once everyone got back on the field together, we got into the swing of things.”

Indeed, the Wildcats (10-9) were in motion for 4 1/2 innings, using back-to-back eight-run innings to make for an easy tournament opener. They used 13 hits, eight walks and six Wheaton errors to do their damage.

“We were able to overcome a number of challenges today,” said coach David Warrenfeltz, who is suffering through adversity in his Williamsport career a second time, three years after the death of close friend and former Wildcats teammate Nick Adenhart.

“I was worried about the emotions of the kids and how they would handle it,” he said. “I told them this week and today, ‘There’s no right or wrong how you feel.’”

The Wildcats had little preparation during the week. The regular-season finalé was canceled and practice time was limited — Warrenfeltz estimated his team had “maybe 45 minutes of practice” during the week.

Senior catcher Ryan Butts, returning to action Saturday for the first time since a mild concussion sustained in a home plate collision on April 24, lost a friend in Colliflower.

“It was tough coming out today,” said Butts. “Brendon was a great teammate and an even better friend on and off the field.”

Senior Tyler Byers said, “(Playing Saturday) was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but maybe this will give us some spark. He was an amazing boy, always with a smile.”

Between the lines, Williamsport took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Tyler Nally drew a one-out walk and went to third on a throwing error by the pitcher on a pickoff attempt. He scored the first run on a wild pitch. Lucas drilled a double, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch for the second run.

The merry-go-round started in the second, when the Wildcats sent 15 batters to the plate for their first eight-run inning.

With one out, Nick Williams and Brandon Allen singled. Lucas and Riley Arnon drove in a run eache and Byers drove in two.

In the third inning, 13 batters stepped into the box, led off by Lucas’ home run. Garrity Showe had two hits and three RBIs in the inning.

Warrenfeltz emptied the bench, and the second-stringers produced four more runs in the fourth inning.

On top of everything, Warrenfeltz put four pitchers on the mound — Lucas, Ryan Boward, Nick Sauble and Wyatt Screiver. None allowed a hit or a walk and they struck out nine — three by Scriever.

Williamsport will return to action on Monday at No. 1-seed Liberty (14-4) at 4 p.m.

Note: In a show of outstanding sportsmanship, Catoctin baseball coach Mike Franklin, whose Cougars are the No. 2 seed and had a first-round bye, made a gesture of swapping spots on the bracket with Williamsport so the Wildcats would not have to play until Monday, even though it meant his team would have had an extra playoff game.

Williamsport 22, Wheaton 0
Wheaton    000    00    —    0    0    6
Williamsport    288    4x    22    13    0
Mc. Anastasi, Mt. Anastasi and Arora. Lucas, Boward (2), Sauble (4), Screiver (5) and Butts, Boward. WP — Boward. LP — Mc. Anastasi. WP — W: Lucas (3rd, none on).

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