State semifinal a first for Rock Bridge baseball team

Friday, June 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:08 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 5, 2009
Rock Bridge senior Jaide Rose, a pitcher and outfielder, has been on the Bruins' varsity since he was a sophomore.

COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge baseball coach Justin Towe said the Bruins have nothing to lose entering Friday's game against Fort Zumwalt South in the semifinals of the Class 4 tournament at Meador Park in Springfield, Mo.   

The Bruins (19-13) have never made it past the state quarterfinals until this season.

Friday's game

MSHSAA Class 4 State Semifinals

Rock Bridge (19-13) vs. Fort Zumwalt South (26-6)

WHEN: 1 p.m.

WHERE: Meador Park in Springfield, Mo.

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"Our message is there is nothing that can take away from what we have accomplished," Towe said. "There is no guarantee that we are coming back, and if we pull together we have as good of a chance as everyone else."

Although Towe said he has not decided who the Rock Bridge starting pitcher will be for the 1 p.m. semifinal, he said the most probable option is sophomore right-hander Travis Bittle, who got the win in the Bruins' first-round game against Troy Buchanan. Bittle is 2-3 with six saves this season, and Towe has used him in the tournament as a starter rather than a closer.

Towe said Fort Zumwalt South (26-6) is a consistent team with no holes and will be tough to beat. The Bulldogs defeated Rock Bridge 11-0 on March 31.

Bittle said he thinks the Bruins have something to prove in their second matchup with the Bulldogs.

"We had a pretty bad game last time we played them," Bittle said. "We have to prove we are a better team than that."

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