XENIA – For the first time this season, the Blanchester baseball team played on a turf field in Thursday’s Region 12 semifinal game at Grady’s Field on the Athletes In Action campus.
It’s not an easy transition for a high school kid who plays a majority of their games on a dirt and grass field.
“On turf, you get more of a true hop,” said Eric Patton, the slick-fielding BHS shortstop.
Patton made all the plays at short in the win over Bethel-Tate, 13-3. In fact, Blanchester had just one error in the game.
“We came over Monday and practice (on the turf field) for two hours,” Lawson said. “All we did was defense and practiced sliding. I think it helped out there today.”
HOT DAY: While the temperature was in the high 70s or low 80s, it seemed hotter because of the turf field. Players had to be more aware of staying hydrated because of the added heat.
“I was in the dugout with coach (Andrew) Freeman and we were looking on the field and you could see (the heat) coming off the turf,” Patton said.
MUSTANGS UP NEXT: Blanchester will face Madeira, 18-6 on the year, in Friday’s Region 12 championship game. The winner goes to the Division III state Final Four. Madeira defeated Middletown Madison on Thursday, 5-1.
“We play the same type of baseball,” Lawson said of his squad and Madeira. “We both have really good approaches at the plate. We’re not going to chase pitches.”
Last year, Madeira defeated Blanchester in the second round of the sectional tournament, 7-6. Blanchester led that game 6-1.
“They beat us; they pounded the ball,” said Lawson. “We did not shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Blanchester defeated Madeira 1-0 in the 2015 sectional championship game when Gavin Creighton stole home for the only run.
Lawson said he expects Sam Wirsing to pitch for the Mustangs on Friday. Wirsing, a right-handed pitcher, is going to Wright State University next season to play baseball.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports