Goshen hits the road to face second-ranked Leroy

Published 9:19 am Friday, April 20, 2012

With the regular season behind them the Goshen High School Eagles baseball team is ready for its first postseason challenge, a two-game road match against Leroy High School in the first round of the state playoffs.

Leroy (26-5) is currently sitting at the number two spot in the 2A rankings and defeated the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs in the 2011 postseason before going on to fall in the championship game against American Christian.

The Eagles (12-9) will face off against the Bears on Friday night in a double header match, with a third game played on Saturday if the need arises.

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As with many of the Eagles performances this season pitching will be a big factor in a possible win.

Several of the Goshen pitchers have recorded multiple strikeouts this season, with junior Austin Rushing posting 15 in a game against Luverne while senior Rob Boutwell struck out eight at Luverne with no walks.

For game one against the Bears Goshen head coach Robby Kinsaul will be sending Boutwell to the mound to set the pace for the Eagles.

“He’s a senior and I think he’s earned the right to start us off and hopefully he’ll do well,” Kinsaul said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in him and we’re going to need him to locate and throw strikes to keep them off balance.”

Rushing will be taking over for game two at the mound, with a batting lineup set depending on the Eagles performance in game one.

Should the need arise for a game three; Kinsaul stated that players such as Jared Maddox or Russ Thomas could see pitching time.

“We’re going in expecting to win,” Kinsaul said. “We know how tough it’s going to be but we’ve had a good week of practice and this will be a solid challenge for us and it’s a challenge we’re ready to face.”

This week the Eagles have been working hard to develop both the pitching and batting game simultaneously, getting in hits on live pitches thrown from the starting players.

Kinsaul hopes to give his team practice on live pitches as well as allow his pitchers a chance to get in a high number of throws.

Combine that with an extra emphasis on fielding and general fundamentals and Goshen has done everything they can to bring a well rounded team into the first round, a round that the Eagles know is an important one.

“It’s a huge moment,” Kinsaul said. “We’ve talked before that it’s a building process and we’ve come a long way and tried to get better every day. The rematch is going to factor into things and we’re not hosting so we’ve got to have a different mindset playing on the road so hopefully we’re going to be ready and prepared. All I ask as a coach is that the guys play hard and leave everything on the field.”

The Eagles will play game one on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. with game two starting at 6:30 p.m.

Should the need arise there will be a third game on Saturday, April 21, at noon.