City wins baseball opener

WARSAW — Columbia City’s varsity baseball team was finally able to take to the diamond after three cancelled games due to weather.While the weather held off for the Eagles’ Friday night game at Warsaw, conditions were not ideal, as temperatures were low and drizzle fell throughout the evening.Both teams had to deal with the cold, but Columbia City managed to win a close game over the Tigers, 5-4.The Eagle’s opening night starting pitcher, Jordan Bickle, took a no-hit bid into the fifth inning while on his way to earning the win.Columbia City took the lead early, scoring two runs in the first inning and another in the third.The Eagles had opportunities to score more in those early innings, having eight baserunners in their first three innings at bat.With Columbia City leading 3-1 after four frames, Warsaw tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth with the help of two Eagle fielding errors.In the top of the sixth, Columbia City was unable to drive in Gary Ormsby from second base.Warsaw managed to get the go-ahead run to third base in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Columbia City capitalized on a failed squeeze play by the Tigers to get out of the inning with the score still tied.With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh, Eagle third baseman Ryan Kerschner hit a fly ball to deep right field that scored Bickle and Keaton Reed, giving Columbia City a 5-3 lead.Bickle returned to the mound for the bottom of the seventh hoping to throw a complete game. He struck out the first Warsaw batter of the inning, but after giving up a walk, a hit and a run, Bickle was replaced by Kerschner.Needing two outs to close the game, Kerschner picked off the inherited baserunner at first base, walked a man, then got the next batter to ground out to shortstop Derek Hinen, who made a nice play to get the ball to first baseman Zac Steinke for the last out. Columbia City topped Warsaw by a final of 5-4.Kerschner picked up the first save of the Eagles’ season. In the field, Columbia City’s defense made plays behind Bickle to keep the Tigers from having much success at the plate and on the basepaths.Despite three errors committed, the Eagles showed poise by picking off two Warsaw baserunners at first base and catching two other Warsaw players trying to steal home.Columbia City starts the season 1-0, while Warsaw remains winless at 0-2.The Eagles take on Churubusco, the other Eagles of Whitley County, at 5 p.m. Monday at Columbia City.