Haga, Bowling Green take Game 1 over Greenwood
Behind the arm of Jackson Haga, Bowling Green came out on top on Tuesday night.
After dropping two of the three games in last week’s District 14 series against South Warren, the Purples – because of the junior Haga – were able to bounce back with a 2-1 win over Greenwood in the series opener between the two sides at Harold J. Stahl Field.
“It feels really good to get the first game of the series and come out and start with a bang,” Haga said. (We have) to come out and get tomorrow’s win and then the next day.”
Haga – who improved to 4-0 as Bowling Green’s starter in 2018 – threw four strikeouts and allowed just one run with four hits while going the distance. Thanks to him – and a successful opening inning offensively by the home club – the Purples (7-7 overall, 2-2 District 14) took an early lead and held on from there.
“We feel really good when he’s on the mound,” Bowling Green coach Matt Myers said of Haga. “We feel like when he’s on the mound, things are gonna happen. “Jackson’s giving us a shot every time out. I didn’t think tonight was his best stuff; it wasn’t as sharp. But he competed and made his pitches. I’m proud of that kid.”
Offensively, Bowling Green – which snapped a short two-game skid – earned four hits on the evening as four different players finished with a hit each.
Mac Ausbrooks led the way for Greenwood with a hit and RBI – one that came off a sacrifice ground out in the sixth inning that gave the visitors their first run.
After Greenwood earned a pair of singles to open the game, Bowling Green used two of its own – and scored the first two runs of the evening as a result.
“With Nate Cunningham on the mound and Haga, it’s going to be a pitcher-first game,” Myers said. “I was very shocked in the first inning. I thought we had some good approaches early, and had baserunners almost every inning. We knew how they were gonna pitch us, and we knew it was gonna be tough.”
Jay Buser led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, and Trevor Dennis reached on an error to give the Purples two on. Taking advantage of the situation, Joe Howard singled to the shortstop area to score Buser.
On the same play, Dennis was able to cross the plate due to an error to give Bowling Green a 2-0 lead.
Greenwood finally found an answer in the top of the sixth.
“We had opportunities in the game and we just didn’t come through,” Greenwood coach Jason Jaggers said. “Credit goes to Haga – I thought he pitched a great game and he battled around some tough situations. I thought Nate pitched just as well. Overall, I liked the fight of our guys. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win.”
Trailing 2-0, Dell Henk reached on an error and John Hicks was walked to give the Gators some life. With Henk on third, Mac Ausbrooks laid down a sacrifice grounder to score the runner from third and cut Greenwood’s deficit to a run.
Although they were able to add a run to their side of the scoreboard, Haga took the Gators down in order in the top of the seventh to seal the win for the Purples.
Bowling Green and Greenwood will continue their three-game set on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Corey Hart Ballpark.
“Energy. Our dugout energy is going to have to be big,” said Haga. “We’re going to have to cut down on the errors a little bit. If we do that, we’re going to play really good baseball.”