After having been swept by Pike Road in area play the week prior, the Russell County Warriors baseball team bounced back in a big way last week, going 4-0 across four games.
As to what that week included, the Warriors began play Monday on the road with a 16-1 win at Carver (GA), and would be followed Tuesday at home with a 6-4 area victory over Park Crossing. The Warriors would then go on the road Wednesday, defeating the Thunderbirds in two games from Montgomery, 10-3 and 10-2.
As a result of the contests, Russell County now sits at 14-11 overall for the 2023 season, as well as 5-4 in area play.
Beginning with the Warriors 16-1 win over Carver, Russell County was dominant from the start, scoring five runs in the first inning, as well as eight in the second.
With the Warriors also adding three in the third, Russell County would claim the win via run rule after three, a game in which they out-hit the Tigers, 11-1.
Offensively, the Warriors received big games from multiple names, with Conner Britton among the leaders in that conversation, going two-for-two with four RBI and three runs scored. Holden Dean would also go three-for-four with two RBI, while Carson Scott had a big day as well, going two-for-two with three RBI.
On the mound, the Warriors would get three strong innings from Michael Heimbach, allowing no earned runs on one hit with two walks and four strikeouts.
In fact, the start from Heimbach was just a sign of what was to come the next two days for the Warriors on the mound, as the pitching was a big takeaway from Russell County’s impressive 4-0 week.
“That’s our strong suite,” Russell County head coach Tony Dimitri said of the Warriors pitching.
“That’s kind of been our thing all year. We’re really young with tons of sophomores, so for them to go out and command the strike zone, be able to throw strikes, to do that, and then come in relief and save some games, it’s kind of been our thing this year. We get really good pitching performances, play really good defense, and we have some timely hitting at times. I think our strong suite has definitely been our pitching and defense for sure.”
As for the area series with Park Crossing, the Warriors would begin the three-game set Tuesday night at home, a game in which Russell County would out-hit the Thunderbirds, 8-4. Once again, the Warriors would claim an early 3-0 lead across the game’s first two frames, and would never surrender that lead, even despite a late charge from the Thunderbirds in the top of the seventh.
The Warriors would get another solid start on the mound in the contest, this time coming from Seth Erickson, who allowed only two earned runs across six no-hit innings with five walks and 13 strikeouts.
Offensively, Colton Armstrong would have a big day going one-for-two with two RBI, with a few others such as Brayden Vachon, Carson Britton, and Shane Otipoby all driving in a run each.
As for Wednesday’s doubleheader in Montgomery, not only would the Warriors out-score Park Crossing a combined 20-5 across the two games, but they would also out-hit the Thunderbirds 18-6 altogether between the pair of contests. The Warriors would also own the early innings between the two games, as 14 of those combined 20 runs would come across the first three frames of each contest.
Looking at game two of the series, the Warriors would receive yet another impressive outing on the mound, this time coming via a complete game from Colton Sampson.
Across seven innings, Sampson would allow only two earned runs on three hits, while also walking four batters with 13 strikeouts.
The Warriors would also get two RBI each offensively from both Dean and Erickson, with others such as Conner Britton, Heimbach, and Alejandro Montoyo also driving in a run each.
Concluding with game three of the series, the Warriors would get yet another solid start on the mound, as the previously mentioned Dean would allow two earned runs across three innings on three hits with six strikeouts.
Dean would also drive in a run offensively in a two-for-three showing at the plate, while Russell County also had an RBI each from Vachon and Montoyo, as well as Otipoby, who drove in two runs.
“We bounced back,” Dimitri stated of the Warriors performance during the three games with Park Crossing. “We had a tough week the week before with Pike, and to be able to come out and win three games last week, to bounce back, and give ourself a chance at what we were trying to accomplish.”