Dowagiac is hoping Cal Cox can pitch and hit the Chieftains past Niles in the Division 2 pre-district game at Edwardsburg Tuesday. (Leader photo/File)
Dowagiac is hoping Cal Cox can pitch and hit the Chieftains past Niles in the Division 2 pre-district game at Edwardsburg Tuesday. (Leader photo/File)

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Pitching will be key in districts

Published 1:54pm Monday, May 27, 2013

Old rivals Dowagiac and Niles did not meet during the regular season this year, but they will kick off the 2013 Division 2 District Baseball Tournament Tuesday.

The Vikings and Chieftains will square off with a spot in the semifinals on the line in Edwardsburg at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The winner will advance to face Berrien Springs in the first semifinal at Edwardsburg High School beginning at 10 a.m. June 1.

Niles coach Mike Vota said it’s going to be up to the leaders of his team.

“The top of the order has got to produce runs and the bottom has to battle pitchers,” he said. “We have to take advantage of every opportunity both offensively and defensively. Solid pitching is needed. We have to keep opponents to few runs. We have to throw strikes and challenge the hitters. We have to stay out of hitters’ counts.”

Niles is led offensively by Chris Mangus, who is hitting .427 with 10 doubles, a triple, six home runs and 36 RBIs. Tate Brawley is hitting .388 with 11 doubles and 21 RBIs, while Connor Glick is hitting .368 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 21 RBIs.

Vota will go with either Brawley (5-2, 2.90 ERA) or Mitchell Dehn (4-3 (1.93 ERA).

Dowagiac’s Bob Turner said it’s got to be a low-scoring affair.

“We are going to have to keep it a low scoring game and try to get Cal (Cox) a few runs,” he said. “We have played some solid defense this year for the most part, but we need to be aggressive at the plate.”

Cox has an ERA of 1.93 this season. Twice he has thrown one-hitters and ended up on the wrong end of the score.

Offensively, Dowagiac is led by Cox, who is hitting better than .440 and Brett Scanlon, who is hitting over .300 with a team-high three home runs.

The host Eddies and Lakeshore both drew first round byes and will meet in the other semifinal approximately 30 minutes following the completion of the first contest.

The championship game is set for 30 minutes after the Lakeshore-Edwardsburg semifinal.

Cost is $5 per person and no passes will be accepted.

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