Baseball: LCC advances to district semifinals

LIMA — Lima Central Catholic right-hander Billy Bourk came right at Crestview with his fastball.

In the end, he didn’t need much else.

Bourk set Crestview down on three hits in a 1-0 victory over the Knights to win the Division IV baseball sectional finals Thursday at LCC.

“He (Bourk) did a great job,” LCC coach John Schnieders said. “He attacked their lineup with the fastball and really did a good job of being ahead (in the count). He minimized his pitch count and kept them from having any momentum.

“He did what number ones are supposed to do. I’m real proud of him.’’

LCC (15-7) advances to the district semifinals against St. Henry at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Coldwater.

St. Henry defeated Marion Local, 2-0, for its sectional title.

The sophomore Bourk also starts for the football team and the basketball team, but admitted after his shutout performance, “Baseball is my sport, absolutely.

“I really wanted this, not only to prove something for myself, but this team is a team that can make a long run.’’

Crestview, which received an outstanding pitching effort from Carson Hunter, is 12-7.

LCC’s lone run came in the first inning and it was an unearned run. Jacob Lauck had the game-winning RBI single.

Bourk went the distance and gave up three hits, struck out seven and walked two.

Bourk dominated with his fastball, which he threw close to 80 percent of the time. He threw 87 pitches, 61 for strikes.

“Our plan coming in was to have confidence and pound the zone,” Bourk said. “Our main goal was pound, pound, pound the zone and let our defense do what they do and that’s what led to that shutout.’’

Schnieders said, “We felt he could go out and use the fastball. He pitched with a purpose of getting ahead today.’’

Hunter went six innings for the Knights and mixed in his breaking ball with his fastball. He gave up one unearned run on four hits. He struck out six and walked four.

Hunter threw 103 pitches, 57 for strikes.

“Do you expect anything different between Crestview and LCC in baseball? It was a tough one for any pitcher to lose,” longtime Crestview coach Jim Wharton said. “Both pitchers were on the top of their game and really pitched well.’’

LCC’s Carson Parker led off the home first by getting hit with a Hunter pitch.

With one out, Conner Gephart lifted a ball to right, which the Crestview right fielder dropped.

Bourk reached on a fielder’s choice. Braden Tarr walked to load the bases.

With two out, Lauck reached on a slow-rolling, infield single to short, which brought home Parker with the game’s only run.

“Getting one run in the first inning relaxed our guys,” Schnieders said.

Bourk retired the final 12 batters he faced. The last Knights’ runner to reach base off him was a single by Bryson Penix in the fourth.

Bourk had two key innings where he wiggled free from any damage, the second and the third.

In the second, Bourk walked Penix and Nick Helt with one out.

Bourk then struck out Isaac Kline and Parker Speith on fastballs.

Then, in the third, the Knights’ Ayden Lichtensteiger started the inning with a double to right-center field.

Nathan Lichtle bunted Lichtensteiger over to the third.

Hunter hit a grounder to LCC second baseman Gabe Cira, who fielded the ball and looked Lichtensteiger back to third before getting the out at first.

With two out and a runner at third, Bourk struck out Connor Sheets on a rare breaking ball to end the threat.

“When we got him 0-2 and I said I had to throw my best pitch of the day and I did,” Bourk said.

Lichtensteiger went 2 for 3 with a double for the Knights.

Lauck went 2 for 2 for LCC. Quintel Peoples was 2 for 2 for the T-Birds.

Bourk said it was his best outing of the year, including a shutout of Coldwater early in the season.

“This was win or go home and we got the job done,” Bourk said.

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Lima Central Catholic’s Carson Parker gets hit by a pitch during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final against Crestview at LCC. See more high school sports photos at LimaScores.com.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/05/web1_LCC-baseball-vs-Crestview-DS4-2.jpgLima Central Catholic’s Carson Parker gets hit by a pitch during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final against Crestview at LCC. See more high school sports photos at LimaScores.com. Don Speck | The Lima News

Lima Central Catholic’s Gabe Cira throws on to first base after forcing out Crestview’s Ayden Lichtensteiger at second during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at LCC.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/05/web1_LCC-baseball-vs-Crestview-DS3-2.jpgLima Central Catholic’s Gabe Cira throws on to first base after forcing out Crestview’s Ayden Lichtensteiger at second during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at LCC. Don Speck | The Lima News

Crestview’s Nathan Lichtle attempts to put down a bunt during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at Lima Central Catholic.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/05/web1_LCC-baseball-vs-Crestview-DS1-2.jpgCrestview’s Nathan Lichtle attempts to put down a bunt during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at Lima Central Catholic. Don Speck | The Lima News

Crestview’s Ayden Lichtensteiger reacts after getting a hit during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at Lima Central Catholic.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/05/web1_LCC-baseball-vs-Crestview-DS6-2.jpgCrestview’s Ayden Lichtensteiger reacts after getting a hit during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at Lima Central Catholic. Don Speck | The Lima News

The throw from Lima Central Catholic’s Billy Bourk arrives in time to first to record an out against Crestview’s Nathan Lichtle during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at LCC.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/05/web1_LCC-baseball-vs-Crestview-DS7-2.jpgThe throw from Lima Central Catholic’s Billy Bourk arrives in time to first to record an out against Crestview’s Nathan Lichtle during Thursday’s Division IV sectional final at LCC. Don Speck | The Lima News
Bourk delivers shutout for Thunderbirds

By Tom Usher

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Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.