Making the necessary plays offensively and defensively and playing with high spirits can add up to a winning combination in baseball.
Despite losing to West Washington 17-2 on April 13, the Crothersville baseball team kept that in the past during a rematch Thursday in the Class A Sectional 61 at West Washington High School.
The Tigers scored a run in the first inning, added an insurance run in the sixth and held on for a 2-0 win against the Senators.
Crothersville coach Jared Richey said winning on the opposing team’s field in a sectional was big.
“For us to come back and to beat them 2-0 and just shut them out like that, that’s a huge credit to us and what we’ve done throughout the year,” he said. “We’re going to take this momentum and ride it all the way to the championship game.”
At 6 p.m. Monday, the Tigers (3-17) will play the winner of Thursday’s late game between Trinity Lutheran and Orleans. Crothersville hasn’t been in the sectional championship game since the 2012 season.
In the top of the first inning of Thursday’s game, sophomore Trevor Peters hit a one-out ground ball, and then junior Jonathon Ritz moved him over with a sacrifice bunt.
Peters moved to third on a passed ball while senior Jessie Fink was at the plate, and Fink sent Peters home with a ground ball into right field for a 1-0 score.
Later in the top of the sixth inning, Ritz connected for a one-out single into left field, and Fink followed with a roller behind first base.
After the Senators made the second out, junior Jonathon Wiesman hit the first pitch into left field to score Ritz and make it 2-0.
Peters sent the Senators down in order in the sixth and seventh innings to finish off the win.
The right-hander went the distance on the mound, throwing a two-hitter, striking out eight and walking two.
“My curveball, it actually worked today, like actually really well,” Peters said. “I could place it better today than I usually can.”
He retired the leadoff batter in every inning, including five on strikeouts.
“It plays a big part in everything,” Peters said. “It doesn’t let (the opponent) get their heads up and their momentum going.”
The defense behind him didn’t commit an error, and he had two words to describe that: “They came.”
Then he used one word to describe how the win felt for the team: “Great.”
Richey said Peters retiring every leadoff batter was crucial.
“It’s everything to us,” Richey said. “If we start down, it kind of gets to us, and it hurts us the whole game, but if we start up and keep our pitch count low and keep our strikes high, then we can ride it through the whole game.”
Offensively, Fink went 3-for-3 with an RBI.
“I’m coming off of a good batting average all season, working in the cage a lot, and I just stayed back in the box and drove the ball off the bat,” Fink said.
Fink, the only senior on the team, said scoring early made a big difference.
“Usually, we get down pretty quick and get down on our head, and everybody kind of shuts up and doesn’t really talk, but today, we were giving it all,” he said. “I’m a senior, so it could have been my last game.”
He’s glad that wasn’t the case, and now, he’s ready to play for a sectional title.
“Hopefully bringing home a W and go get some ice cream,” he said, smiling.
Richey said he’s proud of his team’s effort, and he’s ready to see them go back to work Monday.
“I’ve been telling them, ‘Just polish out your own rough spots and just play your game,’ and that’s what they’ve been doing,” he said. “They put a whole game together, and we got the W from it today.”
Assistant coach Dustin Lewis said he hopes the Tigers carry the momentum into the championship game.
“It didn’t matter the outcome of (Thursday’s) game. I was very proud of them,” he said. “These kids, they went from struggling to almost beating the No. 3 team in the state (Class A Borden last week) to winning a sectional game. That’s big. I think that game had a lot to do with the outcome of today.”