Being the defending champion means you have a target on your back and everyone’s out to get you.
That didn’t rattle Bowling Green whatsoever.
The Purples, who captured the title a season ago, continued their pursuit for another crown by putting together an impressive, all-around dominant performance and rolling past Logan County, 10-0, in five innings in the Region 4 Baseball Tournament quarterfinals on Monday night at Nick Denes Field.
“I think our guys were fired up and really hungry,” Bowling Green coach Nathan Isenberg said. “We wanted to just come out and pretty much put the ball in play and let our speed work, and of course having our pitching and defense working as well.”
Bowling Green (29-10) – the District 14 champion – and District 13 runner-up Logan County (28-8) played two complete scoreless innings before the Purples scored first in the third. While it led just 1-0 at that time, BGHS caught fire in the fourth and put together a nine-run frame to build a 10-0 advantage and didn’t look back.
Carson Kelley and Geoffrey Ross each went 2-for-3 with two RBI apiece, while Eli Burwash finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and Evan Spader recorded three RBI of his own for the Purples, who finished with 11 hits as a team.
Defensively, Bowling Green ace and Liberty signee Jackson Haga allowed just three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings of work to earn another win on the year.
“It was really good,” Haga said of the win. “We did our job. We did what we worked on all week for this game and came out here and executed it – and it worked.”
After two-and-a-half scoreless innings, Bowling Green was the first to breakthrough in the bottom of the third.
With Maddox Burr and Burwash both on after each hitting a single, Spader laid down a sacrifice groundout to score Burr and give the Purples a 1-0 lead.
That momentum carried over into the ensuing inning.
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Behind seven hits, Bowling Green unloaded for nine runs in the fourth to build the 10-0 advantage.
Haga led off the frame with a single, and Ross quickly followed up with a triple to score courtesy runner Charlie Key. In the next at-bat, Kelley singled to plate Ross and a two-run single from Spader soon after made it 6-0.
“We were swinging the sticks really good,” Haga said. “Everything was rolling – and we won. We’re excited and just need to keep it rolling.”
A passed ball, followed by singles from Ross and Kelley sent three more runs across the plate before a fielder’s choice allowed another runner to score and give Bowling Green its comfortable 10-0 lead after four complete innings.
Leading by double digits and needing just three outs to end the game in five innings with the KHSAA state mandated run rule, Haga and the Purples didn’t allow Logan County to score and capped their impressive victory off in an early fashion.
Bowling Green will now face District 16 champion Russell County in Tuesday’s 7:15 p.m. semifinal.
“I think it means a lot for these guys,” said Isenberg. “I’ve been really impressed with our guys the last few weeks. We’re just consistent – and I think that’s the sign of a mature ball club that doesn’t get rattled and doesn’t pay attention to all the side stuff.”