It was rain that officially ended the season for the Exeter Township High School baseball team, but the Warwick Warriors also had something to do with it. On May 18, Warwick scored four runs in the bottom of the second and one more in the third which turned out to be all they would need to defeated the Eagles, 5-1 in the opening round of the District 3-AAAA tournament. The loss ended the 2015 season for Exeter, which finished with an overall record of 14-8.
“We did not play a complete game against Warwick,’ said Exeter head baseball coach Justin Freeze. “Our offense and defense was not consistent and we lost the game.’
The Eagles were the first to score when Aaron Gentry knocked in a run in the top of the first, but Warwick came back in the second with four runs to take a lead they never surrendered.
Despite the loss, it was still a good season for the Eagles. They won the division with an 8-2 record and made it to the Berks League semifinals before being eliminated by the eventual champions, Governor Mifflin.
“The season was very successful,’ said Freeze. “We finished the year with a 14-8 record and qualified for county and district playoffs. We won our first county playoff game in the past few years.’
That was a 4-0 victory over Brandywine Heights in the Berks quarterfinal round. Dylan Richards and Chris Smith combined to pitch a five-hit shutout. The victory sent the Eagles to the league semifinals for the first time since. 2005.
“The highlight this year was having the opportunity to play in the county semifinals against Mifflin at First Energy Stadium,’ said Freeze. “This was a great opportunity for the players in our program.’
As with most baseball teams, the Eagles were powered by the pitching. Freeze pointed to pitching and his team executing the fundamentals as the biggest reason for the team’s success this year.
“Our success was led by a strong pitching staff and playing fundamental baseball.,’ said Freeze. “We were very successful when we did both. In the games we lost, we did not do a good job of putting the ball in play in key situations.’
Led by All-County selection Chris Smith, the Eagles will come back next year with a strong nucleus of players returning. Many of the team’s top hitters will be back in 2016 including five starters. It should be another good season for the Eagles, but next time, they will be aiming for a league championship. They may just have the horses to accomplish their goal.