Senior Mitch Freeman allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings to lead Berkshire to a 3-2 Senior Day win over visiting Conneaut on Tuesday.
The Badgers collected just seven hits in the game but made the most of their opportunities on the base paths.
“We didn’t play great,” said Berkshire coach Steve Smetana. “Our hitting is struggling but we did a lot of things to get us into tournament mode tonight. The first couple of innings we had the infield in and we did a good job as far as pitching and fielding. We didn’t have any errors tonight. We executed. Where we botched the suicide squeeze (in a 9-3 loss to Howland on Monday) we executed it tonight. Hopefully we’re learning and getting better.”
Smetana inserted all five of his seniors into the lineup and left them in for the duration of the game.
Freeman picked up the win on the mound and went 1-for-2 with a run scored and classmates Connor Dudinsky and Ben Bresnahan played big roles in the win. Dudinsky was 2-for-3 with a stolen base. Bresnahan was 1-for-2 with a run scored. Senior Luke Byler locked down second base and Quentin Schultz had a put out and an assist in left field.
“The great thing for me was all five of our seniors played the whole game and got themselves a victory in a nice, clean game,” Smetana said. “That was really nice to have that on senior day.”
Berkshire, which improved to 13-9 overall, scored two runs in the bottom of the third on back-to-back hits by Bresnahan and Freeman and an RBI single by Dudinsky.
The Badgers added another in the fourth when Gordy Cossick singled, stole second and moved to third on Miles Chapman’s fly out to right. He scored on Will Blechschmid’s successful suicide squeeze.
Berkshire’s top four hitters combined to go 5-9 with a run scored and two RBI.
“That’s key,” Smetana said. “We’ve been up and down all year with our first four guys. This time of year we need to get them going. We need to find a way, whether it’s starting runners, fake bunts or starting hit and runs, we’ve just got to get them opportunities with good counts. Obviously they need to be focused on their pitch selection and hitting their pitch. Moving forward it’s very important to have those guys clicking.”
Jarett Smetana pitched the seventh to pick up the save for the Badgers.
Berkshire opens the post-season on Thursday when the Badgers host Grand Valley in a Division III sectional semifinal.