South Warren evens series with 8-3 win over Bowling Green
On Tuesday night Bowling Green jumped out to an early lead on the way to a 11-7 win over South Warren in Game 1 of the three-game district series.
The two sides met at Harold J. Stahl Field yet again on Wednesday night, but the Spartans flipped the script on the Purples this time around.
Taking advantage of several errors to get a 4-0 lead in the first inning and holding off a Purples’ rally later in the game, South Warren bounced back with an 8-3 victory over Bowling Green to even the series.
“We bunted the ball well, and put a lot of pressure on (Bowling Green)’s defense like they did us in the first game,” South Warren coach Chris Gage said. “It was good to get a lead and then play from ahead instead of trying to catch up.”
South Warren senior Hunter Evans slugged a two-run shot over the left field fence in the top of the seventh for his third home run in two games—one of those being a grand slam in the top of the seventh of Tuesday night’s loss that may have jumpstarted the Spartans on Wednesday night.
“We always talk about momentum,” Bowling Green coach Matt Myers said. “Last night we felt like we gave them momentum late in the game, and they threw the first punch tonight.”
Senior Zack Beckner earned the win on the mound, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out four in five full innings of work—marking his second win in a District 14 game on the year.
“We were a little unsure going into the season to see who would step up and we’ve had other guys step up, but Zack may have been our most consistent guy so far,” Gage said.
South Warren (6-7, 3-2 District 14) wasted no time in the top of the first as the Spartans struck first when Tyler Martin drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in one run.
Evans scored on a wild pitch, and the Spartans led 4-0 after Martin and Drew Gregory came around to score when Jacob Lacey reached an error.
Gregory notched an RBI single on a bunt in the top of the third to push South’s lead to 5-0 before Will Garske put Bowling Green on the board in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single that plated Eli Thurman.
The Purples (6-6, 1-1) continued to chip into the deficit with RBI singles by Evan Spader and Joe Howard in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, and Bowling Green had a prime opportunity to tie the game when it had runners at second and third with only one out.
But Clay Noehl—who was pitching in relief for Beckner—induced back-to-back outs to get the Spartans out of the jam unscathed.
“Clay coming in and getting us out of the jam really helped us out,” Gage said.
“He’s always been like that,” Evans said. “He has that clutch gene in him, so I was pretty confident when he was up on the mound.”
Overall Bowling Green left six runners on base in the final three innings—with four of them being in scoring position.
“We had our chances to get back, we just didn’t execute,” Myers said. “We didn’t execute the short game that we’ve spent so much time with, and that’s the frusturating thing.”
The Spartans picked up some insurance runs in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Sam Gage and Evans’ two-run homer as South Warren will look to clinch the series win at home on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. with major 14thDistrict Tournament implications at stake.
““To even out the series and get to the rubber game is huge,” Evans said. “This is a big-seeding match-up.”