Clare takes Falcons, upended by Rockets
By Clint Kern and Sonny Bursey
Pioneers struggle early
Clare Pioneers lost to the Reese Rockets 4-2. Tyler Warner suffered the loss going all seven innings, he also had an rbi. Shane Adkins smashed a solo home run. Clare won the nightcap 3-1. Jeff Staten and freshman Charlie Bugbee did a fantastic job of painting the corners for Coach Yenkel.
The Clare regime returned to it’s winning ways with 7-6 and 11-2 victories over the Falcons of Ogemaw.
Garret Jenkins came in relief and started pumping strikes to help polish off Logan Emery’s fine start.
Taylor Ardis flexed his mojo with 2 hits and 2 RBI’s and, Tyler Warner added one RBI in the offensive flurry. Brent Luplow came up clutch with the winning infield ground out scoring Warner from 2nd base.
Luplow’s swagger was on full display in the night-cap. Luplow rocked the corn-boys from West Branch for six innings, giving up only 3 hits.
Ardis continued to do his thing from the batter’s box, roping 2 hits and scoring 2 runs, while savvy third baseman Cameron Smith added a hit and an RBI. Shane Adkins also snapped a 1 hit 2 RBI’s to help the cause.
Hornets not that bad
Technically, the Harrison Hornets baseball team is off to a slow start at 0-7. By merely eyeing the team’s record- one might say, “slower than an idling speed boat on Bud Lake.” However, I have come to realize that not everything can accurately be appraised by what you see in the win and loss column. Notably, when your team plays in northern Michigan—where last week gusty winds reached 55 mph. Coupled by the fact that the Hornets pitching staff prides themselves with keeping opposing hitters of balance—typically creating an abundance of lazy fly ball outs.
There is absolutely no doubt that the team has subscribed to another year of head coach Brian Clennan’s brand of energetic, fundamentally sound, hustling baseball. The team seems to find an extra gear when some squads would have become dejected.
Take Hornets starting pitcher Cody Cooper for example: he pitched a commanding game against the St. Louis Sharks on Monday. He had the Sharks hitters lunging and confused at the dish for the majority of the ill weathered day. Cooper’s sneaky breaking ball combined with an outstanding change up and occasional fastball was producing the results the right hander dealt for. But, not even Willie Mays during his “hay day” would have been able to catch up with the wind blown balls that normally would have been routine outs. Harrison dropped the decision 15-4.
Nevertheless, Cooper asked for the ball again on Thursday—opting to pitch on shorter than normal rest against an always tough adversary—the Grayling Vikings.
“In my mind—I want the ball every game” Cooper said shortly after his second fine pitching performance of the week. This time the wind was not blowing directly out to center field at gusts up to 55 mph. Cooper praised his teammates by saying, “the guys did a great job behind me and it showed. We are making significant strides … our practices have been real crisp lately and that (component) has carried over to our games.”
This time the crafty pitcher kept a talented Grayling club at bay for the better portion of the afternoon, fanning 4 and yielding 6 total runs. But, the only run the Hornets could manufacture came in the 5th - when speedy Kyle Frintzinger drew a walk-quickly stole second and came around to score on a series of passed balls from Vikings starting pitcher Levi Korneli. The ending score in game one was 6-1 .. in favor of the visitors.
Just prior to game two, Coach Clennan huddled his team and delivered a sequence of confident and encouraging messages. It was clear to any person within earshot that the coach was sure of his player’s abilities … and in a mystic tone was able to unite his team in a focused but calm state of being. They took the field with what could be described as a renewed attitude.
Matt Haskell soared to the daunting challenge of stifling the Viking bats while battling heavy rain on a muddy pitching mound that remotely resembled quick sand at times. The deceivingly quick right hander had pin-point location and made masterful pitches when he needed to the most— giving up 4 runs with 3 opportune strikeouts.
The Hornets had a chance in the home half of inning number four to either tie the game or take the lead. But, they left the bases full and the game was halted after four innings due to heavy rain.
“HOLY COW … DID YOU SEE THAT” Plays of the week –
Harrison’s centerfielder Cody Hilyard – sprints as fast as a deer … towards the fence in centerfield—a good 40 yards—reaches high above his head in full stride … and with amazing concentration snares a line drive shot—robbing St. Louis slugger Trevor Gruett of extra bases.
Harrison’s pitcher Cody Cooper fields a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line with his bare throwing hand plants and in one motion guns a strike to stretching first baseman Dylan LaPorte to nip the Sharks fastest runner Levi Lake by a nanosecond.
Harrison’s right fielder Brooks Leonard playing Grayling right handed power hitter Jacob Saunders to pull chased down a ball that nobody thought he could catch up with judging by the trajectory of the well placed ball off the crack of the bat—ranging far to his left with great determination making an incredible shoe lace catch just a few inches off the turf on an all-out sprint directly on the right field line saving a sure double… HOLY COW!!
Coach Mammell exploited his talented laden squadron and flabbergasted the Bears 17-2 and 18-3 in a spectacular display of offensive fire-power.
Mike Rocha (1-0) earned the victory in three short innings of play, surrendering 2 hits. 3
Riley Bell spear-headed the fire-storm with 3 hits ( 2 singles and 1 double), 3 RBI’s, and 1 run scored. Brad Crowl added 2 hits (both singles) 2 runs, and an RBI to go along nicely with Tylor Rhynard’s double, 2 run, 2 RBI showing. Chris Lovejoy mixed it up in the opener with a double, 3 runs, and 2 RBI’s.
“Rocha was sharp after a slow start. He gave up both hits to the first two batters in game but settled in nicely,” said Coach Mammell. “Defense and baserunning has been very good thus far in the season. We need to work on our pregame focus and preparation on game days.”
In the 18-3 Coleman lashing, Riley Bell made short-time in 4 innings of work with 6 K’s to earn the W.
Chris Lovejoy chipped in 2 hits (triple and single), 3 runs, 2 RBI’s, and recorded 2 walks. Riley Bell got into the mix with 2 hits (singles), 2 runs, and 2 RBI’s.
“Again after a shaky 1st inning Bell settleddown and gave a solid performance in some less than desirable conditions (heavy winds). On the day the team showed a good eye for the ball with 22 walks in 7 innings. We will need to keep improving aspects of throwing strikes, putting the ball in play on offense, and making the routine plays. The Team is showing signs of potential – but hard work at practice will be the key,” said Coach Mammell.
Cats claw Eagles
Farwell clung to a 5-2 lead after 3 innings, but the Evart clan pumped in 8 runs down the stretch to seal the 10-5 victory.
Spangler and Carncross both had RBI’s and a hit to pace the Eagles in the opener and the Farwellians fell behind in a shortened game in the night-cap 5-4 after a shortened game.
the nightcap. Kyle Brandon belted two hits and drove home three rbi’s.
G-boys split with Pine River
Despite a fine showing by freshman phenom Richie Mathis on the mound, the Gladwinites lost the first round of a double header 6-1.
Manny Sheets went 1 for 3 with an RBI double, driving in Blake Pahl for the lone run in the game.
“We faced a pitcher that was throwing in the high 80’s with decent control. It was the first time we had faced anyone of that caliber this year and we didn’t adjust in time. Late in the game we started putting runners on but it was too late,” said Coach Henry.
Gladwin was forced to put in another one of their freshman ballers Jake Shell. Shell responded in convincing fashion in the 3-0 Goshawk victory.
Gladwin was led by freakish speed of Cameron Tenwalde who went 2 for 4, scoring a run, and snagging 3 steals. Billy Bittner and Jake Shell both went 1 for 2, with Shell scoring a run.
“We had played so many games in a short time span that we ran out of outs for some of my pitchers so I pitched two freshman. I thought that they both pitched very well and learned a lot. Our defense also did a great job that lead to the split,” commented Henry.
Coach Novak and the Mustangs toppled the Huskies of Breckenridge 12-6 behind the ferocious pitching of Mic Petre. Petre slung the hammer for 4 innings not allowing a hit and striking out six. Damon Walter was salivating at the plate and gobbled on meatballs, loading his plate with 4 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI’s. Codey Hintermeister also head a belly full, as he went buffet style and stuffed his face with 3 hits and 3 RBI’s. Mic Petre helped his own cause with 2 hits and scoring 3 runs.
Game two was called after three innings and the two teams were tied 1-1.
Collin Alexander worked in 3 innings and struck out 4. “Both teams struggled in the blustery winds and cold, but we got some much needed playing time for all the kids and that was important,” said Coach Novak.
Meridian turned back around and rolled the Vandals 3-0 and 6-5
Jonah Weisenberger was the winning pitcher over Merril’s Brandon Mudry who pitched the state championship for Meriill last year. Weisenberger was spot on for seven innings of play, allowing a meager two hits while sitting down 9 in the shutout.
The Mustangs scored one in the first as Petre singled and scored utilizing his speed via an infield grounder by Walter. It stayed that way till the Mustangs scored 2 in bottom 6. Walter singled and scored on single by Collin Alexander.
Peyton Marshall scored the last run on a wild pitch. “Jonah threw another outstanding game, he continues to improve every outing,” said Coach Novak.
In game two, it was Hintermiester stifled Merrill to allow the boys of Sanford to hoist the W.
Hintermiester came in relief in 2nd inning with bases loaded and one out and remained cool to get out of a jam with a popout then strikeout. The Mustangs only recorded 3hits, but it was enough. Petre scored twice with Gaetan Anderson driving him in. Devin Dunn scored twice for the Mustangs.
“Codey came in a tough situation and showed his competitive nature, he put us on his back and carried us the rest of the game,” said Coach Novak of the 4-3 Mustangs.
Bucks up and down
The Bucks stormed back in dramatic fashion against Boyne City, scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the 6th to win it 9-8. Sawyer Harris picked up the win, however, R.J. Friedriechsen piched very well for 5 innings.
Sawyer Harris went 1 for 4 while Josh Smock finished 2 for 4 with a double off the fence. Senior buzzsaw Trent Hoffman was back in action, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Todd Martin, Michael Faulkner (double) Garrett Patterson, and R.J. Friedriechsen all put wood to bat in the affair.
The Bucks lost steam against the Tigers of Alcona, losing the first game 15-5 and the night cap 16-6.
Leading hitters for the Bucks were Josh Smock (1 for 2, double) and Trent Hoffman (2 for 2, 2 RBI double).
“We had too many chances and we just could not take advantage of it and we are still having problems putting a whole game together. But moving forward, I think my guys are going to pull together down the stretch,” said Rodney Patterson.
The Bucks again were able to score, but surrendered too many runs in the 16-6 lose. Garrett Patterson(1 for 1), Trent Hoffman (2 for 3 b.b. 3 RBI’s) and Todd Martin (1 for 2 b.b., 1 RBI) added to the offensive assualt. Kyle Kinnin had a nice night from the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI while Zack Stachurski got on base twice with a single and a walk.
“We are scoring enough runs to win the game we just cant get the other team off the field for a various reasons. Baseball is a funny game: you have to bring all the areas of fundamentals to the game or you’re going to have a long night,” said Patterson.
Coach Erik Schunk’s Farwell Eagles swept the Mustangs of Montabella, 4-0 and 13-5. Jacob Sutton threw a shutout to earn the victory in the opener. Quincy Crawford earned the victory in