KINGS MILLS – For the second time since 2015, the Blanchester baseball team will play for a Division III Southwest District championship.
Blanchester defeated SBAAC rival Clermont Northeastern 7-3 Wednesday to claim the Division III Cincinnati 2 Sectional championship in a game played at Kings High School.
The Wildcats (18-10) will face Carlisle 5 p.m. Friday at Hamilton High School in a Division III Southwest District championship game.
Carlisle defeated Brookville 9-5 on Wednesday.
“Overall a great win for this team,” BHS coach Aaron Lawson said. “This puts them in good company being only the fifth sectional championship team in school history. We have never had a district champ. We are going to give everything we’ve got to make that happen Friday.”
The win for BHS is the third this season over the Rockets. Blanchester won regular season games by the score of 9-4 and 2-1.
Brody Rice was the winning pitcher for Blanchester, pitching into the seventh inning. Justin Ballard picked up the same by recording the final two outs.
“Brody gave us everything he had,” said Lawson. “He was in total control early then CNE really made him work the fifth and sixth (innings). He threw a lot of stressful pitches but I was proud of him for grinding through them.
“Justin nailed it home in the seventh. He attacked the strike zone and pitched with the lead.”
Blan led 3-0 going to the fifth but the Rockets tied the game at 3-3 going to the bottom of the sixth.
The Wildcats erupted with four runs, the go-ahead marker coming home a double by Dustin Howard.
“We had great approaches at the plate,” Lawson said. “We made the pitcher be around the plate and did not chase. We had timely hitting with walks and took advantage of an error late. That was the difference. You could see the wind come right out of them.”
Howard and Ballard had two hits each. Brant Bandow and Chris Farrow had a hit and RBI each. Preston Griffin also had a hit.
May 16 2018
Division III Sectional championship
@Kings High School
Blanchester 7 Clermont NE 3