ELLISTOWN – Two longtime postseason rivals meet again this season, starting Thursday when East Union plays East Webster in the second round of the MHSAA Class 2A state playoffs.
The best-of-three series is scheduled be played Thursday-Saturday.
East Union (22-5) defeated Riverside 13-0 and 11-1 in its first-round series. East Webster (19-11) swept O’Bannon.
“We started out 1-4 and we’re 21-1 since. You can’t complain about that,” East Union coach Chris Basil said. “The kids are really locked in. We’re looking forward to a great series against East Webster.”
In Game 1 against Riverside, Carter Phillips pitched a complete game shutout for the Urchins.
In Saturday’s Game 2, Rudy Baldwyn hurled a 3-hitter and struck out 11, despite struggling early with his breaking ball.
“I couldn’t locate that well early, so I stuck with the fastball,” Baldwyn said. “ I tried to work it inside and outside. I finally found it (curve) in the fourth and fifth innings. It started working then.”
Baldwyn continued, “I think if our pitching staff keeps doing what we’re doing, and if we keep hitting the ball like we’ve been doing, I think we’ll be good.”
Basil was pleased with the work from his right-hander.
“Rudy at times can be overpowering,” he said. “His breaking ball was not very effective early. Later on in the game it was dominant.”
It was Baldwyn’s walk-off single in the fifth that ended Game 2. Earlier in the inning, lead-off batter Jude Treadaway raced around the bases for a 2-run inside-the-park home run. The Urchins produced six hits in the inning.
“I thought we hit their pitchers very well,” Basil said. “We hit several balls right to them, specially early. We scratched in every inning and put up a big number in the fifth.”
The Urchins collected 15 hits off Riverside pitching in Game 2. Third baseman Ethan Hitt led the way with three singles and an RBI. Hayden Roberts added a double and a single with an RBI. Jace Basil had an RBI double. Treadaway, Baldwyn and Conner Timms all had two hits apiece.
Saturday’s game was the first played on East Union’s newly-installed artificial turfed home plate area.