BRIGHTON — As the season nears its halfway point, Brighton baseball coach Charlie Christner is looking ahead to the postseason.
“We have to keep working, keep getting better, keep doing things the right way and building toward the end,” he said Thursday after his team swept Milford 7-2 and 9-4. The second game was suspended in the top of the sixth because of darkness.
Here’s a link to the archived broadcast of the nightcap!
Brighton (10-5-1 overall, 8-3-1 KLAA West) went into the twin bill a half-game ahead of Milford while battling for third place in the division.
But starters David Kauff and Cameron Tullar shut the Mavericks down.
Kauff pitched five strong innings in the opener before Milford got through in the sixth, and Tullar did the same for four before Milford scored a pair in the fifth in the nightcap.
“David did excellent again today,” Christner said of Kauff, who had thrown 15 scoreless innings before allowing a run. “He’s been throwing really really well, and been pleased with that. We swung the bats really well, and with the exception of one inning in the second game, we played good defense.”
There were signs of progress from, among others, catcher Chad Rensi, who homered and doubled among three hits in the doubleheader, or nearly half as many hits as he’d had in the previous 14 games.
Trevor Hopman had three hits in the nightcap, and Donnie Carruthers had a pair of doubles.
But, he said, it wasn’t significant other than it was his turn.
“I was just putting a good swing on the ball,” he said. “We all got good swings on the ball. I got a couple today, and my teammates will get a couple tomorrow.”
In the opener, Brighton got three in the first to take the lead, while in the second, the Bulldogs scored five runs in the third to pull away.
“I think everyone’s getting more comfortable,” Hopman said. “We were up the whole game, and that’s a confidence thing.
“Now that we’re in midseason, we have games almost every other day,” he continued. “Guys are in their routines and some are working their way out of slumps. It gives us time to get done what we need to get done in practice between games.”
Brighton has won the KLAA West in six of the last seven seasons, but the Bulldogs need to win out and have Howell and Hartland lose two of their next three league games to have a shot at repeating.
The Bulldogs have a doubleheader at Fowlerville on Saturday, where the assessment process will continue.’
“I’m looking for guys we need to throw well to throw well,” Christner said. “Just kind of pick up where we left off on the field and in the batter’s box.”
The Bulldogs are scheduled to play 20 games to finish May, including five this week, and regardless of how the KLAA West turns out, Christner and his team are ultimately looking to get themselves in good position in the district tournament the first weekend in June.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Hopman said. “We know we have Howell in our district, and we’ve got to be ready for them and keep grinding.”