XENIA – Brody Rice drove in four runs and limited Bethel-Tate to just three runs as Blanchester moved on to the Region 12 championship game with 13-3 win Thursday over the Tigers at Grady’s Field on the Athletes In Action campus.
In the regional semifinal game, Blanchester scored six runs in the first inning and then played add-on with a 12-hit attack in the battle of SBAAC National Division rivals.
The Wildcats are 20-10 on the year and will play Madeira at 5 p.m. Friday in the Region 12 title game with a berth in the OHSAA State Tournament Final Four on the line.
Bethel-Tate’s season ends with a 15-7 record.
“I was anxious all week,” BHS coach Aaron Lawson said.
Much of that anxiety was brushed aside with a big first inning. Rice and Jack Davidson had two-run singles in the first, Davidson coming as the 10th batter in the inning. Rice added RBIs in the second and sixth innings. He finished 4-for-4 and scored two runs.
Dustin Howard and Brant Bandow had two hits each. Preston Griffin stole a couple of bases.
The Blanchester defense was solid as well, making almost every play in the game played on turf under sunny, hot conditions.
Rice struggled early on the mound, surrendering runs in each of the first two innings. He worked out of a bases loaded jam in the second then found his groove by retiring 14 of 15 batters faced in to the seventh inning.
“(Early on) I wasn’t letting my defense make plays,” said Rice, a freshman. “I was trying to strike everybody out, instead of letting my defense make plays.”
Said Lawson, “He didn’t have his best stuff but still was able to grind it out and pitch a complete game.”
May 24 2018
Region 12 baseball semifinal
@Xenia’s Athletes in Action Sports Complex
Blanchester 13 Bethel-Tate 3
(13) BLANCHESTER (ab-r-h-rbi) Davidson 4-1-1-2 Howard 4-2-2-0 Bandow 5-2-2-1 Farrow 0-3-0-0 Czaika 1-0-0-0 Ballard 5-2-1-10 Rice 4-2-4-4 Ficke 3-0-1-0 Patton 3-1-0-0 Griffin 3-0-1-0. TOTALS 32-13-12-7
(3) BETHEL-TATE (ab-r-h-rbi) Rienert 2-0-0-0 Bohl 1-0-0-0 Whisman 3-1-2-2 Day 4-0-1-0 Kilgore 3-0-0-0 Smith 3-0-0-0 Kaylor 3-0-0-0 Clements 3-1-1-0 Baker 3-0-1-0 Cecil 2-0-0-0 Price 1-1-1-0. TOTALS 28-3-6-2
SB: BL-Davidson, Howard, Czaika Ballard, Griffin 2.
Rice (W) 7-6-3-2-2-7
Whisman (L) 3-5-7-6-4-5
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports