CENTERVILLE — Alex Anders knew he had a solid defense behind him, and the Beavercreek defense knew they had Anders on the mound.
The combination of bend-but-not break defensive play with stoic pitching proved to be enough, Saturday, as the Beavercreek High Battlin’ Beavers earned a 1-0 Division I district championship win over Liberty Township Lakota East, on Centerville’s Booster Park ball diamond.
Anders tossed a complete-game six-hit shutout, and battled out of not one, but two bases loaded jams in the late innings to nab the win.
“I just trusted in my team. I just focused on throwing strikes, not trying to over power people, because I trust my infield with my life. They really played a big part today,” Anders said.
Beavercreek (23-7) scored the only run they needed in the fifth inning. With two out and Brett Brunswick perched at third, Brandon Williams beat the throw to first from the Thunderhawks’ shortstop for an infield single, and Brunswick scored on the play.
“If I’m not safe on this, we might not score or the rest of the game,” Williams told himself as he sprinted to first. “I loved being in that situation. It was fun.”
Brunswick kinda downplayed his role in the win. He wanted to make sure Anders got credit for his pitching performance.
“You gotta give it to Anders on the mound. He battled and he came through every single time the pressure was on him. That’s why he’s the Athlete of the Year in the (Greater Western Ohio Conference), he did his thing and pitched a helluva game,” Brunswick said.
Beavercreek coach Brandon Long said Saturday’s district title was the first for the school since 1992. They’ll next face Cincinnati Moeller at 5 p.m. Thursday on University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Field.
“Alex has been there for us all year. What speaks volumes about the kid is, he had the day he had (Thursday) in the sectional finals. He could have taken it one way, but he up it behind him and just did what he’s been doing,” Long said.
Anders was chased out of the sectional title game against Clayton Northmont in the third inning.
“We say ‘Flush it.’ He flushed it, and he threw a heckuva ball game,” added Long.
Lakota East coach Ray Hamilton said his team just couldn’t come up with a timely hit when they really needed one.
“The two times we have the bases loaded, with two outs, if we get one hit there … If we had maybe two runs there, that would’ve been big. We left too many guys on base,” Hamilton said. “When you get this far into the post season, it boils down to executing and getting that one run. I dunno. I’m still really proud of how hard my guys played. We’re disappointed, because we feel the game could have gone either way with a key hit. We have no regrets here.”
Anders and Nick Massey both had two hits for Beavercreek. Brunswick had the game’s only extra-base hit with his fifth inning double, and he parlayed that into the game’s only run.
Lakota East ends its season with a 21-10 overall record.