LITHIA — Gaither leftfielder Tyler Tyson began a game against Bloomingdale on Day 2 of Saladino Tournament pool play at Newsome with a triple to deep rightfield.
Right-hander Logan Crouse, on the mound for the tournament’s reigning champion, didn’t sweat it. He simply reverted to his usual plan.
“You just got to come back even harder,” said Crouse, a Florida State commit. “The next three guys, you just got to go down and get them out.”
The 6-foot-5 junior did just that, striking out the next two batters — and nine more during the his complete-game outing — and giving up just three hits in Bloomingdale’s 3-0 win against Gaither.
The 11-strikeout performance was certainly flashy, but nothing Bloomingdale (6-4) coach Kris Wilken said he hasn’t seen before.
Wilken said he didn’t doubt his ace for a second after the Cowboys’ (5-4) leadoff triple. In fact, Wilken’s faith in him grew.
“This year, that’s when Logan’s been at his best,” he said. “A couple other instances where big runs got on base in scoring position, less than two outs, he digs deep and he gets better.”
Crouse’s big day continued at the plate, as he recorded an RBI in the third inning to get the Bulls on the board. Crouse was intentionally walked in the sixth inning, and his pinch runner scored later in the frame on an Austin James two-RBI double.
“Austin’s a streaky hitter. When he’s locked in, I can kind of tell from the third base box,” Wilken said. “So when he came up in that situation, I had a pretty good feeling he was going to do something big.”
After starting Logan and Cody Crouse to win the Saladino Tournament last year, Wilken gave them rest in the following week, and the Bulls lost a pair of district games. This year, Wilken said he wasn’t sure he would use Crouse more than once in the tournament so he’d be ready for district play.
An efficient Crouse only threw about 80 pitches Monday, however, so the eager right-hander said he’d be ready to go after a few days rest, should the Bulls still be alive.
“(I want to) win it and win it and win it again,” he said. “Win ’til you can’t win no more.”
Kelly Parsons can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @_kellyparsons.