After a somewhat disappointing spring season, Bowling Green?s baseball team has responded this summer.
The Bobcats look to continue their solid play at the Senior ACME state tournament beginning Saturday when
they face Defiance. First pitch at Lima Shawnee High School is scheduled for 5 p.m.
BG finished 13-13 overall and 7-7 (sixth) in the Northern Lakes League during the varsity season. At
least to those outside the program, the fact that the Bobcats are one of eight teams remaining in the
state this summer could come as a surprise.
?I don?t want to say that it was a surprise. I guess looking from the outside in they didn?t have the
greatest spring season,? said BG coach Josh Iler. Iler, BG?s junior varsity coach this spring, and a
group of parents are coaching the team this summer.
?It?s been nice to see these guys can actually do this and it?s showing this summer,? Iler said. ?They?re
nice and relaxed and playing good baseball.?
This summer, the Bobcats are 18-2 overall and swept all four of their games at districts to qualify for
state. BG is the only team to advance to state from District 7, which represents the counties of Wood,
Hancock, Sandusky, Seneca, Huron, and Wyandot.
To advance to districts, BG had to first win sectionals, including a win over Findlay and two wins over
?It was tough getting through them,? Iler said of Perrysburg.
The Bobcats? only two losses this summer have come to Oak Harbor and Perrysburg. BG is averaging just
under 10 runs per game, while allowing just over three. The Bobcats had two shutouts at districts,
including their 3-0 win in the championship over Bellevue.
The key to BG?s success has been solid defense and timely hitting, and the pitching staff?s ability to
keep opponents? offenses down despite not having a true ace, according to Iler.
?They?ve been playing really well defensively. They?ve come together. We?ve made very few errors at all,?
Iler said. ?Pitching has gone above and beyond what we expected it to be. We?ve been clobbering the
baseball, too. We?ve hit it really well.?
?We don?t have some stud pitcher that?s going to shut a team down,? Iler added. ?We?ve got to play
defense. We?ve got to hit the ball.?
BG? had six players bat at least .333 at districts, led by outfielder Joey Harris, who went 8-for-15 with
nine runs scored.
Shortstop Joey Sickler (.500, two doubles, six runs scored at districts), along with second baseman Kyle
Busch (five runs scored) have been solid, according to Iler.
?Those two have done a great job, offensively and defensively. They?ve saved quite a few runs,? he said.
Outfielder Kendrick Lemle (.400), designated hitter/outfielder Cody Lang (.353), and outfielder Justin
McCarty (.375) all had solid district tournaments. Iler also mentioned catcher Colton Yonker (.272 at
districts) as being a key to BG?s defensive success.
?We are a team through the lineup that everybody is doing something every game,? Iler said. ?You don?t
know who?s going to do it day by day. It makes it exciting for everybody.?
On the mound, BG will rely on several pitchers including Max Beattie, Jake Ireland, Matt Milligan, Tony
Dible, and Kurt Fairchild.
The Bobcats will be tested right away when they get to Lima as they face 2006 and 2007 ACME state
champion Defiance in the first round.
The tournament is a double-elimination format and will run through next week. Other teams in the
tournament include Anthony Wayne, Bluffton, Springfield (Clark County), Coldwater, Xenia and Tippecanoe.
Defiance is 27-5 overall, but will be without its ace pitcher, Dace Kime, who is out with an injury. Kime
has verbally committed to play college baseball at Louisville.
?These guys really need to face another team where they can test themselves, because that?s what this is
about anyway,? Iler said. ?It will be really interesting to see how they handle this.?
No matter how the Bobcats fare at state, the experience of success this summer will do nothing but help
the BG varsity team next spring, according to Iler.
?It?s showing them that?s what it?s going to take … They realize what needs to be done,? Iler said. ?To
many people, (BG advancing to state) probably was a huge surprise … It?s kind of nice to see what they
can do. I think it will be good for them next year.?