Tigers Stay Atop GPAC

Lean right-hander Jake Lee and big left-hander Ethan Gillis made the Warhawks look almost timid at the plate as Whitewater pitching paved the way for 1-0 and 5-1 wins Monday in a GHSA Class AAAA baseball semifinal series. All those line drives up the middle fell just outside of the reach of the OSU middle infielders. Starting pitchers Lee and Sparks had the breaking and off-speed stuff working, and neither defense had a whole lot of work to do with pretty routine flies, pops and grounders. In the bottom of the fifth, Matt Ward groundout to third, Canny Vasquez flew out to right, Alex Hennessey came up with an infield hit to SS, Chase Moore had an infield hit to SS, and Tony Sepulveda grounded out to SS to end the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Highland manufactured a run when Hunter Clancy beat out an infield hit, stole second and scored on Tyler Brown's single to put Highland up for good.

In the bottom, Alex Hennessy hit a double to left center two hopping the fence, Andy Anderson grounded out to third, Parker Lippold walked, Chris Plitt short hopped the left center field fence for a double allowing Alex to score, Brandon Hudson hit a single up the middle scoring Parker and Chris, Dalton Guera walked and Matt Ward grounded out to third.

Traded to the Blue Jays back in February, Reyes' addition to Toronto's middle infield and batting lineup has kick-started a hype around the Blue Jays the likes of which has been long absent. FAU is a balanced offensive club, it plays sound defense (.971 fielding percentage), and it has three reliable starting pitchers in ace lefty Austin Gomber, veteran righty Jeremy Strawn and senior bulldog Jake Meiers. Mike Korsakas opened the inning with a hit by pitch and was run for by Tyler Lohr. The Thunder got off to a 3-1 lead after 2 innings, scoring 2 of their runs on sacrifice flies by Shane Slattery and Tyler Viza.

These include Shortstop/pitcher Rob Lind, middle infielder Bucky Needles, and infielder/outfielder Chad Morrison. Cherokee, which had a dozen offensive rebounds, grabbed 11 steals against the opponent from Fairfax, Va. Zach Rowe scored 13 points and Tyler Tobin netted 12. Tyler Brown led off for Highland with a double, narrowly missing his first career home run by just a few feet.

The top of the lineup was on base every inning and the middle of the lineup got the timely hitting to knock them in. Even John Lorenz had a great game knocking in 3 runs. Unfortunately, it takes more than just scoring runs to win ball games - you've got to play defense. The big lefty took control early on, and was helped defemsively by a tough Tiger infield and outfield. Perry's infielders showed some stellar defense - turning 3 double-plays on the day.

The offense and defense are both average, but the Cowboys have gotten competitive Tyler Doanes Middle Infield Defense at-bats from the top of their lineup to the bottom. The Marauders survived a rash of mistakes, including three lost fumbles and two interceptions in the end zone — one of which was returned 100 yards by Tyler Reed for a score to give the Mustangs (1-4, 1-2 NSIC) a 22-9 lead at the half. The bullpen's took over and Tyler Wilson and Tanner Folio dueled to a draw through nine.

In fact, no middle infielder (SS and 2B) did any of that better than Cano with the exception of BA, in which he is only beaten by Derek Jeter (.316). Kurt Wertz (.341/.421/.659, 13 HR, 63 RBI) is the biggest threat in the middle of the lineup, and he has good protection courtesy of Peter Bowles (.332/.391/.554, 8 HR, 47 RBI) and Dominic Fratantuonto (.345/.449/.573, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 14 SB).

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