With the districts just around the corner, Plymouth Christian Academy baseball coach Joe Bottorff is helping his batters get up to speed.
“We’ve been concentrating on hitting a lot,” Bottorff said. “We’re bringing the pitching machine out on to the field, we’re cranking the speed up so that these guys have timing for good pitching.”
The strategy paid off Tuesday, as the host Eagles rocked Huron Valley Lutheran by an 11-4 count.
PCA improved to 11-3 overall with the victory. The Eagles locked up the Michigan Independent Activities Association Red Division title last week, winning two routs against Newport Lutheran South to finish division play with 8-0 mark.
Leading the charge against the Hawks was senior Josh Slater, who went 4-for-4, scored three times and drove in three.
“He has been hitting really well,” said Bottorff, about Slater. “He’s been working on going with the ball, opposite field. Two of his hits were opposite field.”
Also coming up big was Will Crecelius (3-for-5) while Austin Andres (2-for-4, three runs), Jordan Talbot (2-for-3), Nick Andres (2-for-4) and AJ Greuber (2-for-4) all sparked the attack.
Splitting pitching duties for PCA were starter Phillip Morby, Adam Albert (three innings each), Tanner Hay and Josh Mason (who closed the game out with a strikeout).
The Eagles and Hawks were deadlocked 4-4 going into the bottom of the fourth, when PCA went to work. Plating two runs with a double was Talbot.
In the fifth, Slater ripped a single to center to score two more runs to turn the game into a blowout.
On Monday, PCA dropped an 8-5 decision to upcoming Division 4 district host Lutheran Westland.
“We were sandbagging and so were they,” Bottorff said. “I didn’t throw my best pitcher, they didn’t throw their best pitcher. … Both teams subbed quite a bit.”
After a Friday game against Parkway Christian, the Eagles will rest up for the districts. PCA received a bye and will play 2 p.m. Saturday, May 30 against the winner of the Huron Valley-Lutheran Westland game (noon May 30).
PCA 10, LUTHERAN SOUTH 0: On Friday, Greuber led the Eagles with two singles with Austin Andres, Nick Andres, Josh Slater and Mike Slater each doubling. Nathan Bishop and Jake Shook singled.
Pitching three strong innings for the Eagles was Hay, who was followed on the mound by Josh Slater.
PCA 14, LUTHERAN SOUTH 0: The Eagles won a road rout behind multi-hit games from Crecelius, Austin Andres, Mike Slater, Josh Slater, Evan Wright, Albert and Talbot.
Bottorff raved about the effort turned in by leadoff hitter Crecelius.
“He wasn’t originally slotted at lead-off,” Bottorff said. “But I put him there in a game early in the season and his performance so far this year has cemented him in that role.
“He has played five different positions in the field which has given me a ton of flexibility with getting players into games.”