Anthony Wayne's Andy Whewell, who was the winning pitcher, steals second base as Bowling Green's Jason Cress takes the throw.
BOWLING GREEN - Josh Stidham stands tall at school, at home and at social functions.
Add the batter's box to that list.
Stidham, a 6-5 designated hitter for Anthony Wayne, had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the sixth inning yesterday as the Generals topped Bowling Green 7-5 in a Division I district baseball semifinal at BGSU's Steller Field.
It was the second game-winning hit of the season for Stidham, who also had one against Clay in a 2-1 win in April.
With a regional berth on the line, Anthony Wayne will return here today to play Mansfield Madison at 5 p.m.
The second out of the sixth inning had just been recorded when Stidham stepped to the plate to face BG's Andy Van Voris. Stidham slapped the first pitch he saw to left field for a double, and Adam Brentlinger, who singled with one out, scored easily. Miguel Flores, who did not have an official at-bat in four plate appearances, walked with the bases loaded two batters later, bringing in T.J. Bridges for the final run.
"We knew we had to get a clutch hit, so I just tried to do my job and hit the ball," Stidham said.
The Generals, who have clinched at least a share of the Northern Lakes League title, topped BG 4-1 on April 26.
Stidham, a sophomore, was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. He singled home Bridges in the first inning as the Generals jumped out to a 3-0 lead, tagging BG starter Jake Albright for five hits in a row.
That margin was constant until the fifth when the Bobcats exploded - seemingly from nowhere - for five runs off Anthony Wayne's Andy Whewell. Jeremiah Kollar scored two with a single. Jason Cress and Brandon Radabaugh followed with an RBI single and RBI triple, for a 4-3 lead, followed by an RBI single by Brett Stram. "I felt that we could generate a five-run inning, I'm just disappointed we were unable to generate any two-run innings or one-run innings," said BG coach Doug Merrill.
Anthony Wayne scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 5. Jon Holmberg singled in two off Van Voris, who had just entered the game.
"Our kids have learned not to panic, and I think a lot of that has to do with the league competition," said Generals coach Mark Nell, whose team has played in four extra-inning league games.
Whewell earned the win by going the distance, allowing eight hits, five in the fifth. He faced the minimum six batters in the final two innings, getting six ground ball outs.