Launch angle this, exit velocity that.
Those statistical measures get the attention, but East Ridge's 9-1 victory over Lakeville South on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A baseball state tournament at CHS Field was an exercise in how to win baseball games.
It's not about heavy bats or blazing fastballs, although they help. As the Raptors proved Tuesday, avoiding mistakes is a sure route to success.
The Raptors had only four base hits, but they drew five walks and took advantage of four wild pitches by three Lakeville South pitchers, three errors and two hit batters, resulting in nine runs.
"You're playing on a beautiful field and you can just see it: Everybody's nervous," East Ridge coach Brian Sprout said. "Who can take a breath and just relax for a second and just make a normal play? Take a breath, make your basic plays. Don't do anything more than that. We'll be all right."
Big expectations have followed the Raptors and their elite pitching staff all season. Senior pitcher Max Arlich got them off to a strong start Thursday, going four innings, allowing three hits and one run, before giving way to Joe Gizzi, who cleaned up the final three innings.
East Ridge played nearly mistake-free, with no errors and walking just four batters.
Senior center fielder Riley Schwellenbach was the catalyst for the East Ridge offense. He reached base all four times he came to the plate on a base on balls, two Lakeville South errors and a single and scored three times.
"I'm just trying to get on base, no matter how it is, if it's a walk or an error," said Schwellenbach, who was also a standout wide receiver on the football team. "I just want to get on base, because we've got some guys behind me with a lot of power who can drive me in."
Sprout called it predictable success.
"He knows how to have at-bats, He's been doing this for three years," Sprout said. "He goes up there and grinds and finds a way to get on base."