Miller Grove and Carlisle begin a best-of-three Class 1A area baseball playoff series today at 7 p.m. with Game 1 set in Van. Game 2 is Friday at 7 p.m. and Game 3, if needed, is at 1 p.m. Saturday at the same location.
Miller Grove, 12-4 for the year, advances to the area round after sweeping McLeod. The Hornets staged a thrilling comeback to take the first game 7-6 and prevailed in the second contest, 7-2.
Big hitters for the team were Patrick Covington, Colten Baylus and Quinten Stovall. Covington was also the winning pitcher.
Miller Grove now turns their attention to a powerful Carlisle squad. The Indians went 17-2 in the regular season and 2-0 in warmup games.
“The 1-2 hitters for Carlisle are very fast and do a good job of putting the ball in play,” said Gary Billingsley, Miller Grove head baseball coach. “ The third through fifth place hitters have 17 home runs on the season.”
Top hitter and pitcher for Carlisle is Gunner Baker. At the plate he is hitting .556 with 36 hits, 39 runs batted in 21 games. Baker on the mound, has a perfect 9-0 record with a 0.23 earned run average. He has 94 strikeouts in 53 innings.
“They will pitch Baker in Game 1 tonight,” Billingsley said. “We will use freshman Aaron Smith. He does a good job of throwing strikes and has great control of his offspeed pitches lately. Baker will throw in the high 80s and it will be a challenge for us since we have not seen this type of speed all year.”
Baker comes from an impressive family line in sports, his brother is a pitcher with the Chicago Cubs.
“We will do the best we can; we know they have a good club,” Billingsley said. “We’ll pitch Aaron Smith today and then come back in Game 2 with sophomore Patrick Covington. Patrick has been big for us the last three weeks of the season. He has been able to keep hitters off balance and has a great command of his fastball.”
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