Chargers Win Over W-G, 5-0; District Final Next
Sometimes coaches start using the same words to describe what is necessary to win an athletic contest. ACGC baseball coach Taylor Morris is no exception. Recently Morris has been saying something like this: "If we can play well in all three phases of the game, we will come out with good results."
The Chargers' mentor has said something similar to those words on several occasions during the season, including heading into last night's 5-0 district semifinal win over Woodward-Granger.
And of course he is right. If a team can get good pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting from its players, it will be successful more often than not.
Tuesday night's game was a toss up heading into the rubber match with the Hawks. The teams split their conference games, with each winning on its home turf. W-G defeated the Chargers, 4-1, in Woodward back on June 14 and ACGC returned the favor on July 6 with a 5-4 victory in Guthrie Center.
The Hawks had the better record going in, as they came into the game with a 14-12 overall mark. The Chargers were 13-23 after its quarterfinal win over South Central Calhoun on Monday.
The game started out as a pitcher's dual, as the Chargers' Brock Littler and the Hawks' Worth Henry each threw three scoreless innings to start the game. That changed in the top of the fourth when ACGC came up with a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead.
With one out Miles Kading singled to get things started, and then stole second base to get in scoring position. After Henry recorded his second strikeout of the inning, Reid Rumelhart's single to left center field scored Kading to put the Chargers on the board. Charlie Crawford followed up with a double to drive in Rumelhart to give the visitors (on the scoreboard) a 2-0 lead.
ACGC picked up another deuce in the fifth inning. Lucas Marsh got on via a base on balls. Clayton Wardyn's sac bunt moved Marsh to second and Littler's infield hit put runners on first and third. After Littler stole second base, Newell Rogers singled to score both Marsh and Littler to increase the Charger lead to 4-0.
Woodward-Granger threatened to score in the sixth inning. After a Hawk batter reached safely on an error, a nifty Miles Kading to Slaybaugh to Marsh double play cleared the bases to start the inning.
But then the Hawks proceeded to put runners on first and second with free passes before a Kading to Slaybaugh force out at second ended the inning and seemed to take the wind out of the Hawks' sails.
ACGC added a single run in the seventh inning when Marsh walked, was once again sacrificed to second by Wardyn, and scored on a passed ball and a throwing error by the Hawk catcher. With the Chargers up by a 5-0 score, Littler put the Hawks down in order to end the game and put the Chargers in the district final.
Littler's shutout included five bases on balls and a single strikeout. No Charger had more than one hit. Crawford's double was the only ACGC extra base hit.
Coach Taylor was clearly upbeat following the win. "This was our best game of the season and no better time for it. Brock was great on the mound and the defense picked him up, and we had so many great situational at bats to pick up the W.
"I told the guys that we can't be satisfied with this and need to be ready to go against a very good Van Meter team who wants revenge on us. Our guys will be ready to go on Saturday for a shot at a substate game if we take care of business."
The revenge Taylor referred to is the Charger 2-0 rain delayed win on June 24 over the then top ranked Bulldogs. Van Meter is currently ranked second and has a 26-7 record for the season. The Chargers' win improves their record to 13-23. Game time on Saturday is scheduled for 7 PM. Time for another "all three phases" effort.
Score by inning:
ACGC 000 220 1--5 5 2
W-G 000 000 0--0 1 2
ACGC hitting: (AB-E-H-RBI) Littler(4-1-1-0) Rogers(4-0-1-2) MKading(3-1-1-0) Jensen (3-0-0-0) Rumelhart(3-1-1-1) Crawford(3-0-1-1) EKading(3-0-0-0) Marsh(1-2-0-0) Wardyn(1-0-0-0)
Pitching: (IP-H-R-ER-SO-BB) Littler(7.00-1-0-0-5-1)