BLOOMING GROVE —
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
Logan Peterson took care of business Friday, throwing what he called his best game of the year. No one can argue with the right-handed sophomore who kept Rice off balance all night, tossing a three-hit shutout.
Rice's Conner Roberts had a one-out double in the first but was left stranded. Chase McCall had an infield single in the sixth and was left at second and Cole Metcalfe had a single in the seventh and was on second when the game ended. The rest belonged to Peterson who didn't allow a walk and fanned three.
“He's going to locate the ball.'' Anderson said. “We feel like our defense plays well enough to make the plays behind him.''
They did. Shortstop Daniel Pelzel, who was busy all night gobbling up grounders, made it look easy and the Lions made only one error all night. First baseman Colton Barham made a running, diving catch on a foul ball that looked like it was well beyond his reach in the seventh for the play of the game, and Peterson stayed out of trouble, retiring 14 in a row after Roberts' double in the first.
“I had a good feeling tonight,'' said Peterson, who is 2-0. “I just felt in the zone and everything fell into place.''
He said he loved pitching in front of the biggest crowd of the year at Blooming Grove.
“The atmosphere,'' he said smiling. “It was really loud. I was feeling the vibe of the crowd.''
The Lions scored three in the first on a walk to Jarod Obenour and key hits by Dalton Blake and Keller Southard, who drove in a run. Barham brought in a run on a misplayed ball and Pelzel reached on an error to bring in a 3-0 lead.
Blooming Grove added a run in the third when Southard doubled and scored later on Peterson's grounder. Then the Lions put the game away with a four-run sixth that included some errors and some big hits from Tyler Ellis, Barham and Peterson.
“We have to win out,'' Peterson said. “We talk about it a lot. We talk about staying focused and playing one game at a time and taking it slow, one pitch at a time, one at-bat at a time.''
The Lions are now 4-6 with two games left in the district race and are in a tug-o-war with Mildred for the final playoff spot. The two rivals could end up in a winner-take-all playoff game if they end in a tie, and it's very possible.
That's why Blooming Grove feels it needs to win out.
Mildred's Eagles are 5-6 and play their final game Tuesday against Teague, which is unbeaten in district play. If Teague beats Mildred and Blooming Grove beats Buffalo on Tuesday and ends with a win against Marlin, a program that hasn't won a district game this year, then the Lions can claim the fourth spot and reach the postseason without facing Mildred again. The two teams split with Mildred winning 1-0 last week.
But beating Buffalo, which is 7-3 in district, won't be easy.
“The Buffalo game is a huge game,'' Anderson said. “Right now we are coming together as a team and playing much better. We just have to take care of business.''
BG girls win 8-2, Peterson tosses 8-0 shutout for the Lions
BLOOMING GROVE —
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
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