By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
WARNER – Tim Smithson’s web gem put some lift in the Warner Eagles’ wings here Tuesday against the Vian Wolverines, but the No. 2 team in Class 3A yanked them back to earth soon after in an 8-3 victory.
With the bases loaded with Wolverines in the top half of the third, the Warner shortstop dove toward second to snag a grounder off the bat of the Wolverines’ Denver Coffee. Flat on the ground, he flipped the ball to his waiting second baseman, Cody Coffman. The play kept Vian from getting two runs and building what was at the time a 2-0 lead, having already scored a run in the frame.
In the bottom of the inning, Coffman drove in a pair of runs with a single to left center, then scored on a passed ball to put Warner up 3-2.
Back came the Wolverines with their own three-spot in the fourth. Rowdy Simon doubled off losing pitcher Levi Jones (8-3) to lead off the inning, and RBI singles by both Landon Decker and Dan Weer, with another run scoring on a passed ball, put Vian up to stay.
Simon and Decker singled home runs in the fifth, and Decker’s sacrifice fly in the seventh registered the final run. Simon was 3-for-3 on the day and Decker 3-for-4, helping himself to his second mound victory in as many decisions.
“When we have those innings, it’s good when we overcome them,” Decker said. “We’ve got guys throughout our lineup that can hit the ball so it’s not like if somebody’s off, someone else isn’t going to step up. I’ve just found my swing again over the past two weeks.”
Warner coach Jason Edwards said it was more or less pick your poison with that lineup.
“One through nine they swing well,” he said. “They’re not ranked No. 2 in 3A for nothing. They can all run a little bit, defensively they’re good, you know, and they’ve got good pitching.
“We competed well. We’re not too far from them.”
Vian, 24-2 after a later win Tuesday against Okay, had 11 hits. All of the Eagles’ damage, and all but one of their four hits, came in the third. Coffman, Jones, Smithson and Briar Campbell each had one.
While Brockman’s team has its sights set on its first state trip since 2007, his opponent shouldn’t back off from such aspirations of its own in the 2A hunt despite falling to 24-6. The Eagles are No. 8 in this week’s 2A poll.
“I thought (Jones) did a great job keeping us off-balance and I thought they played well defensively up the middle. Offensively they put the ball in play and put pressure on you,” Brockman said.
Decker matched Jones in strikeouts (six) as both went the distance. Jones walked four. Decker issued two passes and hit a batter and outside of the third, never had but one reach base in any inning.
Vian 10, Okay 0
Sophomore A.J. Rodriguez (1-1) no-hit the Mustangs, striking out 10 in a postponed game moved to Warner to accommodate the originally scheduled game. Vian had six hits and drew eight walks.