The Grand Rapids Community College men’s baseball team swept Ancilla College in its doubleheader on Tuesday winning 16-2 and 8-4.
GRCC (16-21, 12-8) remains in fifth place for the conference standings, but is just one game behind Kalamazoo Valley Community College (23-14, 13-8).
Coach Mike Cupples was happy with the wins, but believes staying focused will be key coming down the final stretch of games.
“We hit the ball well and took advantage of the hittable pitches we were given,” Cupples said of his team’s efforts at the plate. “We still made more errors than we’d like on defense, and that can’t happen down the final six games if we want to win them all.”
With six games left, the only team that the Raiders could not technically catch is Jackson College who has 19 wins in the conference.
The other three teams ahead of GRCC (Kalamazoo Valley CC, Lansing CC, and Kellogg CC) are all teams that The Raiders could jump in the standings with some help.
“Right now we are pretty comfortable with our position in the standings but of course it would be great to move up,” Cupples said. “We have a goal to win out and if we stay solid on defense it’s very possible.”
In Game 1 on Tuesday, Ean Walda (3-3) got the win on just four innings of work allowing two runs, only one of them was earned on four hits, two walks, and six strikeouts.
“I would say I did as well as I expected myself to and it helped that the team mercied Ancilla for me so it was over early,” Walda said on his performance. “As long as we stay on this roll we should make regionals this year.”
Cody Huston got the loss for Ancilla College, pitching 2.1 innings while giving up 10 runs on seven hits and six walks.
The Raiders had plenty of offense to show for in the first game of the doubleheader, but one of the standout performances was yet again Brendan Johnson. Johnson went a perfect 2 for 2 with two walks, two RBIs and three runs scored.
Matt Milbourne did a good job leading off for GRCC going 2 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
In Game 2 the bats slowed down, but not much as Raiders kept hitting and driving in runs.
“It was probably one of our best days hitting up and down the order,” Cupples said. “They (Ancilla) didn’t seem to be on their game and luckily we took every chance we were given.”
Jackson Shaver (2-1) got the win in Game 2, going six innings while surrendering three runs, but none of them were earned. Shaver gave up just four hits and walked two while striking out three.
Caleb Heckaman got the loss for Ancilla College, pitching four innings and allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits.
Milbourne got the team going from the lead off spot with a huge game going 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Will Harris also continued to hit the ball well as he went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Sterling Brinker had a perfect game at the plate going 3 for 3 with two RBIs.
The Raiders did have four errors total in each game which is still higher than coach Cupples would like to see.
“Overall we played well but the errors (are) something we still need less of because they cost you in close games,” Cupples said. “I know it is the same story over and over again, but it really is the difference in some of our wins and losses.
“This is a team that is capable of winning out, we just have to play to our full ability and good things will come.”
GRCC welcomes Lake Michigan Community College (7-31, 5-15) to Belknap Park at 2 p.m. today for a doubleheader.