State Baseball | Bowling Green uses late rally to surge past Madison Central, 8-6
LEXINGTON—Bowling Green trailed for the majority of the game against 11th Region champion Madison Central, but the Purples battled back and exploded for five runs in the top of the sixth on the way to an 8-6 victory over the Indians in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington on Friday night.
Offensively Bowling Green was led by Eli Thurman, who recorded a team-high two runs batted in on a pair of singles in four plate appearances. Evan Spader and Trevor Dennis each had two hits and drove in one run, and Dennis and senior Will Garske each slugged a double for the Purples in the win.
Charlie Key earned the win on the mound for the Purples, surrendering just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out two in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Dennis earned his first save of the season by yielding no runs on no hits and three walks while striking out four in 1 2/3 innings pitched.
Bowling Green (22-11) will now play First Region champion McCracken County in the quarterfinals on Saturday night at 8:30 E.T. The Mustangs advanced with a 14-3 victory over 10th Region champion Campbell County.
Madison Central (30-8) drew first blood in the tournament’s final first-round matchup when junior Ben Snapp laced a 2-RBI double to the gap in center to plate Logan Thomason and Scott Simmons, who had put themselves into scoring position with back-to-back hits. The Indians pushed their advantage to 3-0 when Luke Coleman—who entered the game as a courtesy runner for Snapp—scored on a balk by Ben Ginter.
Neither team scored in the second before Geoffrey Ross reached on an error and advanced to second to lead off the top of the third for Bowling Green, coming around to score the Purples’ first run after a sacrifice bunt by Bo Morton and a sacrifice fly by Eli Burwash that was close to the warning track out in left field.
Thurman then produced the Purples’ first hit of the evening with a single down the line in right, but the senior was caught in no-man’s land between third and home to end the half inning after stealing second and advancing to third when Jay Buser reached on an error.
Garske led off the top of the fourth with a double to the corner in right, and he came around to score on an infield RBI single by Spader. Dennis—who had smacked a single off the third-base bag to move Garske over to third—then slid safely into home after an errant pickoff attempt to tie the game at 3-all.
Madison Central didn’t waste any time re-taking the lead.
Bryce Travis and Jesse Cox drew back-to-back walks to begin the half inning, and Tyler Storie laid down a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Trey Eden followed with a sacrifice fly to center—the throw home to nab Travis taking an unfortunate bounce just in front of the plate.
The Indians would extend their lead even further as an RBI single to right by Thomason scored Cox and pushed Madison Central’s advantage to 5-3 after four innings.
Bowling Green continued to fight, whittling the deficit down to 5-4 when Dennis doubled to the corner in left to score Garske—who had been hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.
Dennis was caught out between second and third for the second out of the half inning, but Spader put himself into position to score the tying run after recording a single and stealing second. Ross followed with a walk to put runners at first and second, and Morton smacked an RBI single to right to score Spader and tie the game at 5-all.
Burwash reached on an error to plate Ross and give the Purples a 6-5 lead, and Thurman came through with a 2-RBI single to cap off the big five-run inning.
Madison Central threatened in the bottom of the sixth when it loaded up the bases, and the Indians chipped into the deficit when Travis drew a bases-loaded walk. However Dennis—who had come in for relief for Key—then struck out pinch-hitter Matthew McQuain as the Indians left the bases loaded for the second straight inning.
The Purples failed to tack on any more runs in the top of the seventh, but Dennis slammed the door and earned the save as he struck out Simmons looking with one runner on base to end the game.