The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, May. 31, 2020

Cougars beat BG; to play for regional title

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

BOWLING GREEN — A late error proved to be the difference in Thursday’s Division II regional semifinal game at Carter Park in Bowling Green.

The two-out error in the bottom of the fifth by Bowling Green shortstop Isaac Elsasser allowed Van Wert’s Keaton Brown to score the game’s only run, as the Cougars extended their winning streak to 18 with a 1-0 victory.

The win means No. 8 Van Wert (26-2) will play Vermilion for the regional championship at 5 p.m. Friday in Bowling Green. The Sailors topped Elyria Catholic 2-0.

Lawson Blackmore got off to a shaky start, but recovered nicely. The recently graduated senior allowed just four hits, struck out six and walked two. Two of the strikeouts were back to back in the first, ending a Bowling Green scoring threat. The Bobcats (23-5) had runners at second and third after a single, an error and a sacrifice bunt.

“He struggled a little bit but anytime a pitch needed to be made, he made it and the same went for our guys, anytime a play needed made, they made it,” Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten said.

Defensively, Van Wert turned in some big plays, including a throw from Blackmore to catcher Hayden Maples, who tagged Eli Brown out at home plate in the fourth, and a throw to first by Blackmore off a sacrifice bunt in the top of the fifth.

Bowling Green had the tying run on base in the top of the seventh, but a double play ended the game.

“It’s the third straight game we’ve ended with a double play,” Witten said. “It was in the back of our minds, but it wasn’t the double play we were expecting. The throw was a little bit high, but give Jaxson Amweg credit for reaching up and getting that throw and getting the tag down before the kid got to second base.”

The Bobcats stranded five base runners, while Van Wert left four on base. The Cougars had just three hits and one walk off Bowling Green pitcher Tucker Craft, who entered the game 9-1. Two of the hits came off the bat of TJ Reynolds.

“TJ’s been struggling since he hurt his elbow in the Elida game, but this was a good game for him to get back into it,” Witten said. “It’s good seeing him produce in big games in situations like this.”

“Give Tucker a lot of credit,” Witten continued. “We saw him last year in the sectional finals and he kept us off balance, but our kids battled and got done what they needed to get done and found a way to get a run across.”

“Ugly or pretty, it doesn’t matter, it worked, so give our kids a lot of credit for getting a run across.”

Friday’s Van Wert-Vermilion regional championship game will air live on WERT 1220AM/104.3FM.

Line score

BGHS 000 000 0 – 0 4 2
VWHS 000 010 x – 1 3 1

Box score

Bowling Green (ab-r-h-rbi): Nick Foster 3-0-1-0; Byrce Hoehner 3-0-0-0; Kyle Jackson 2-0-0-0; Micah Fry 3-0-0-0; Isaac Elsasser 3-0-1-0; Eli Brown 3-0-1-0; Christian Peek 2-0-0-0; Ryan Jackson 2-0-1-0; Andrew Tucker 1-0-0-0; Peyton Beaverson 0-0-0-0

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-so-bb): Tucker Craft 6.0, 3-1-0-1-1

Van Wert (ab-r-h-rbi): Jaxson Amweg 3-0-0-0; Jake Lautzenheiser 3-0-0-0; Hayden Maples 3-0-0-0; Nathan Temple 2-0-0-0; Lawson Blackmore 3-0-0-0; Parker Conrad 2-0-0-0; TJ Reynolds 2-0-2-0; Keaton Brown 1-1-0-0; Jalen McCracken 2-0-1-0

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-so-bb): Lawson Blackmore 7.0 4-0-0-6-2

POSTED: 05/30/19 at 9:30 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports