Edgerton High’s baseball team faced a must-win situation Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide were 2-2 in the Rock Valley Conference and hosting 5-0 Whitewater.
Another defeat would put the Crimson Tide three games behind in the loss column.
Brian Rusch made sure that didn’t happen.
The right-hander threw a complete-game three-hitter to lead Edgerton to a 4-1 win.
Rusch struck out two and did not walk a batter, as Edgerton crept within a game of second-place Whitewater. Turner is 6-0 in the Rock Valley. Edgerton (4-2, 3-2 RVC) scored two runs in the fifth and added two insurance runs in the sixth.
Whitewater (5-2, 5-1 RVC) lost despite a solid start from Hunter Martin. The 6-foot-8 left-hander struck out nine in six-plus innings and allowed only three hits.
Rusch said getting ahead in the count was crucial.
“All I had to do was throw strikes and let my defense make plays behind me, and that’s what happened,” Rusch said. “And we had to have this game. They were ahead of us in the standings.”
Rusch got his team on the board in the fifth. Sam Veitch doubled to start the inning, advanced to third on Ethan Norland’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Rusch’s sacrifice fly. The Crimson Tide added another run in the inning when Mason Simmons walked with the bases loaded.
Whitewater pushed a run across in the sixth on Cooper Pease’s fielder’s choice groundout, but Edgerton scored twice in the bottom of the inning. Both runs were unearned, as a fielding and throwing error allowed both runs to score.
Rusch retired the side 1-2-3 in the seventh.
“If we were going to have any hope of staying in the conference race, we had to have this one today,” Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said. “It was about as well pitched of a high school game as you’re going to find, and that goes for both pitchers.
“Brian threw 78 pitches in throwing a complete game, and we got a couple of bunts down that helped our cause.”
Whitewater got doubles from Jordan Curtis and Aiden Murray but could not string any hits together off Rusch.
“Edgerton played a little small ball on us, and we just didn’t make the plays,” Whitewater coach Jim Pease said. “That’s high school baseball.
“We’ve got some young guys out there, and we’re still learning, but I’m happy with the way we started the season. Our pitching has been good. We just have to get the bats going.”
EDGERTON 4, WHITEWATER 1
Whitewater 000 001 0—1 3 3
Edgerton 000 022 x—4 4 2
Martin, Monday (6) and C. Pease; Rusch and Johnson
2B—Curtis (W), Murray (W), Veitch (E)
SO—Martin 9, Rusch 2. BB—Martin 4