After suffering a heartbreaking loss to South Warren in last week’s District 14 championship, Bowling Green used that setback as extra motivation entering Monday’s Region 4 Tournament.
Taking on Logan County — the District 13 champion — in a quarterfinal matchup, the Purples played at a high level on both sides of the ball and completely dominated in a 9-0 shutout win at Nick Denes Field.
The victory comes just four days after Bowling Green failed to capture the District 14 title.
"South Warren was a great game, and I always tip my hat to the opponent," Bowling Green coach Matt Myers said. "(Zack) Beckner threw a great game at us. And tonight, (Logan County) got (Dylan) Penick back. That kid's a really good arm and he competes his fanny off. We knew we had our hands full with him tonight.MORE COVERAGE
"Bennie met the challenge. We came out offensively -- we haven't swung it well against them in our history -- and so we wanted to prove something tonight. I can't be more happier about how we played 'em. You can't play a better game."
The Purples (19-11) racked up 11 hits and were led by shortstop Joe Howard, who went a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI at the plate. Behind Howard’s offensive performance, Ben Ginter threw a complete-game four-hit shutout with six strikeouts to maintain a usually dominant Logan County team.
"It was a great opportunity and I'm glad we got this chance," Ginter said. "Everything (was working). Consistency with all my pitches, change-ups running away, got some swing and misses and ground balls. Placement was the biggest thing."
Bowling Green took a 3-0 lead in the third inning and went on to add five runs to its side of the scoreboard in the sixth to build a comfortable advantage it wouldn’t relinquish.
While Howard and Ginter were big for the Purples, Jay Buser finished with a hit and two RBI, while Eli Burwash finished went 1-for-2 with an RBI to make for an all-around production from the District 14 runner-up.
Logan County, which finishes its 2018 season with a 24-8 overall record, was led by Braxton Meguiar’s two-for-three outing.
Bowling Green will now meet District 16 runner-up Cumberland County in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. semifinal.
"Our guys tasted it. We knew this was going to be a big challenge," Myers said. "Now, you're one game away from playing for a championship. If you have to be motivated more than that, you're playing the wrong sports. Our kids will be ready to go."
After two complete scoreless innings, Bowling Green got its bats going in the top of the third.
Behind four hits and a walk, the Purples scored three runs to break the scoreless game. With Burwash on after hitting a triple into deep left field, Buser came to the plate and singled to score his predecessor and gave the Purples a 1-0 lead.
Just after Buser’s hit, Will Garske and Howard followed up with back-to-back RBI singles to push Bowling Green’s advantage to 3-0.
As Ginter continued to shut down the Cougars, the Purples caught fire in the sixth.
"It's my favorite part of pitching -- answering the call," Ginter said. "Being able to be big for my team ... that's the biggest thing for me."
Howard led off the frame with a triple into left, and Trevor Dennis quickly followed with a single to plate Howard and make it 4-0. Following Dennis’ at-bat, Bowling Green took advantage of multiple Logan County miscues and plated four more runs to build a comfortable 8-0 lead.
The Purples tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh to go up 9-0, and Ginter kept Logan County from getting anything going in the bottom half and sealed the win for BGHS.
"(The) dugout (has to) stay up," said Ginter of what the Purples have to do in order to keep advancing. "Put the whole team in it, and I think we've got a shot at it."BGHS - 0 0 3 0 0 5 1 - 9 11 0LCHS - 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 4 2WP: Ginter. LP: Wall.
Cumberland County 5, Barren County 3
Cumberland County did the unprecedented on Monday.
Entering the Region 4 Baseball Tournament with an overall record of 6-23 and after losing 14-0 to Russell County in the District 16 championship last week, the Panthers shocked everyone and pulled off a huge upset.
Cumberland County knocked off Barren County — the District 15 champion — 5-3 in a nine-inning dogfight at WKU’s Nick Dennis Field to advance to its first regional semifinal since 2008.
The Panthers (7-23) will face Bowling Green in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. semifinal. –Senior writer Tyler Mansfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @TMansfieldST.–