Meridian Star

Sports

April 28, 2014

Enterprise and St. Joseph-Madison to square off in 3A playoffs

ENTERPRISE — ENTERPRISE — After dropping its opening contest of the three game series against Mize High School, 12-7, the Enterprise High School baseball team rebounded to take the next two games of the series, 12-0 and 8-2, to clinch the series and advance into the second round of the MHSAA Class 2A playoffs.

The Bulldogs will now turn their sights to St. Joseph Catholic High School in Madison in a best-of-three set that begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at Enterprise.

"St. Joseph is a good baseball team," Enterprise head coach John Welch said. "They won their division, and we're expecting a quality opponent."

Enterprise enters the series a confident squad, managing to take a playoff series after dropping the opener last week to Mize, a contest in which EHS committed six errors.  

"We didn't play very well on defense that night," Welch said. "We booted the ball everywhere, infield and outfield.

The early round-jitters came as no surprise to Welch as his squad is littered with numerous players taking part in their first action of the postseason.

"This was the first time most of these have ever played in a playoff game," Welch said. "The playoffs are different. It changes. Everything changes. Everything gets bigger, everything gets better."

Now that the Bulldogs (20-6-1) have gotten their feet wet in postseason play, Welch believes that his squad is more than capable of performing at a high level from this point on.  

"The team is very confident in their ability to win games," Welch said. "We've worked so hard and they've come so far.”

When Enterprise squares off against St. Joseph’s, they will do so with the comfort of having a reliable pitching staff led by Brady Billelo and Garrett Glenn, who each sport an earned run average under 1.50.  

"I think (Billelo and Glenn) are confident," Welch said. "Not arrogant, but confident. They understand what they have to do well. They also understand that they don't have to do too much. Neither one of them are high-80 guys. They have to pitch to location, pitch to spots. They need to throw their breaking ball well, and we'll be fine."

Welch attributes the success of Billelo and Glenn and the rest of the pitching staff to that of assistant coach Josh Perkins.

"He does an outstanding job of getting them ready," Welch said. "He's got them prepared for what they're going to see, and calling the game. A lot of credit goes to him for the job he's done and how successful the pitchers have had this season."

Yet Welch identified the key to his team’s success as to what goes on behind his pitching staff.  

"We have to play defense," Welch said. "We're going to pitch well, and I have confidence that we're going to score runs. I think the key to us in winning is playing defense. When we play defense well, we win."

With seven wins on the schedule coming by two runs or less, Welch is optimistic about his squad’s ability to finish games.

"We've played in a lot of close games," Welch said. "We've won a lot of those games, so we understand that we're capable of winning close games if we play well."

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