PORTER TOWNSHIP | Pitching in relief has been an acquired taste for Boone Grove's A.J. Mosier.
"I don't mind it," Mosier said. "I'm used to starting, but I've grown to like it. Coach (Rollie Thill) was tired of having so many pitchers on the field, so he started throwing me in relief. Wherever I need to come in for the team, I just want to get the win."
Mosier (3-2) got the win in Wednesday's Class 2A Boone Grove Sectional, tossing three scoreless frames that quelled a Winamac comeback in an 8-5 Wolves victory.
"A.J.'s done a real good job in the relief position," Thill said. "That's probably where he's going to end up next year (at Trine) so he's got to get used to coming in and throwing strikes right away. It was huge. You get in situations like that, we tell them to try to minimize."
Boone (14-11) led 7-1 entering the inning, but Jared Thill allowed a string of four hits and a walk, and exited the game with arm tightness. Mosier entered and got a fly out to right field. Levi Schultz tried to advance to third when the relay throw got loose, but Mosier was in position to cover the bag, take the throw and make the tag.
"That was a big turning point in the game," Mosier said. "I knew if we stopped them right there, we'd have the game. They made a good statement and our defense made a good statement by holding them."
Mosier allowed just one hit. Dean Hill pitched what developed into a nervous seventh, getting Jeremy Bentle on a called third strike with the bases loaded to end it.
The Wolves made a five-run third inning stand up. Defense betrayed the Warriors as a Jason Sawa fly ball to left that would've been the third out was misplayed into a two-run triple. An error then let him score.
Boone scored twice in the first, keyed by a Cody Poynter triple. He had two hits and Hill knocked in two runs.
"We played our best two games all year our last two games, but we definitely didn't play like (that), for sure," Thill said. "We talked about goals during games, key things to keep them thinking. We just didn't have a game plan. We had no idea at the plate. We thought we could go up there and cut and slash, do whatever we want. It was a really bad performance at the plate."
The Wolves will face the winner of today's North Newton-Rochester game in a Saturday morning semifinal.
"We've got to get back on track and not take things for granted," Thill said. "That can't continue if we want to do something."