By Anthony Rhoads
The Union Grove Wolverines are going to the second round of the Class AAAAA state baseball tournament.
The Wolverines earned a berth to the Sweet 16 after sweeping Newton 10-5 and 12-5 Friday night at home.
"If they just keep the momentum up like they've been doing, we'll go deep," Union Grove head coach Vic Gongola said. "Our pitching is picking up right when we need it and we're getting timely hitting. We practice hard and we come out to play hard. We're ready to move on."
The Wolverines not only had solid pitching, hitting and defense but they were able to take advantage of several Newton miscues. The Rams committed six errors in game 1 and five in game 2.
"At this level, it comes down to the team who makes the fewest mistakes," Gongola said. "We played good defense. We had one bad inning in 14."
Union Grove 10, Newton 5: Newton led 3-0 in the first inning but Union Grove came back in the second.
Clint Harrison singled to drive in Billy Norman to put Union Grove on the board. Two batters later, Justin Timbs blasted a three-run home run to give Union Grove a 4-3 lead.
Newton scored two in the third to take a 5-4 advantage.
Union Grove reclaimed the lead in the fourth thanks to a two-run single by Cole Williams.
In fifth, Norman singled to drive in Michael Wear, giving Union Grove a 7-5 lead. Scott Mayo collected a two-run double scoring Norman and Harrison.
Union Grove added one run in the sixth when Micah Archer singled to drive in pinch runner Ryan Burgess.
Jeremy Riehn struck out five in a complete-game effort.
"Our pitching was outstanding," Gongola said. "Jeremy did a great job and Cole came out and did a did a great job in the second game."
Union Grove 12, Newton 5: Union Grove led 4-0 going into the bottom of the second but Newton came back to tie the game at 4-4, taking advantage of two Wolverine errors.
Union Grove reclaimed the lead in the third inning when Archer doubled to score Riehn. The Wolverines.
Union Grove padded its lead with three in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the seventh. Newton scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 12-5.
Mayo, the lead-off hitter, went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and four runs. He walked once and reached first on a fielder's choice.
Noah Watkins went 3-for-5 with an RBI and Riehn went 2-for-4.
Williams pitched a complete game, striking out four while allowing five hits and three walks. He also hit three batsmen.