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Pilots Fend off Elimination with Pair of Wins in League Tournament

The Bethel Pilots baseball team fended off elimination twice on Monday, earning the right to advance in the 2017 Crossroads League Tournament as one of the final four teams left in contention. The Pilots started the day off with an 8-2 win over Spring Arbor and closed the day with a decisive 8-0 shutout win over Mount Vernon. The 2-0 record lifts BC’s overall mark to 22-21.

In the opener, the Pilots and SAU Cougars battled through three scoreless frames before BC broke through in the bottom of the fourth with two hits accompanied by a walk and two hit batters. In the inning, Mike Wathier, Morgan Erla and Eric Kelver all arrived safely at home plate on a two-RBI double from Kelver and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Austin Branock. The Pilots’ offense exploded again in the seventh, plating three more runs on three hits. Another trio of hits followed the outburst in the eighth that pushed two more across the plate in the eighth.

While the BC offense was banging on all cylinders, the work of senior Caleb MacPherson on the hill was impressive from start to finish. Throwing all nine frames, MacPherson allowed 10 hits and just two runs on the day, keeping the Cougars at bay. On his way to the win, MacPherson fanned five while walking two.

Following the win, BC had to get right back to work as they needed a second win to advance to Tuesday. Matched up against the Cougars of Mount Vernon in game two, another strong offensive showing coupled with a nine-inning gem thrown by Josh King led to an 8-0 shutout. King was spectacular, allowing just six hits in nine complete innings of action while striking out two and walking two.

In support of King, the Pilots loaded up 14 hits that led to eight runs. Leading BC in game two from the plate was Josh Gilliam who went three-for-three with two runs scored and four runs batted in. Gilliam finished the day with four hits total. Also landing multiple hits against MVNU were Brandon Diss, Heath Brooksher, Collin Affolder and Kelver.

For the day, BC outhit the pair of Cougar opponents .333 to .239 while the tandem of MacPherson and King finished with a combined ERA of 1.00.

The Pilots will look to fend off elimination again tomorrow against Marian University at 3:00 p.m. The winner will advance to play the loser of the Huntington/Goshen contest, which is slated for noon.