The Grand Rapids Community College Raiders baseball team split its doubleheader against the Lansing Community College Stars on Tuesday.
The Raiders won the first game 5-0, before losing the second game 14-8.
With the big difference in scores from game one to game two, Coach Mike Cupples thought it was easy to see why the games finished in different ways.
“At the end of the day it just comes back to pitching and defense,” Cupples said. “Justin (Palmbos) pitched great for us in the first game and our defense was the best it’s been all year but in the second game we couldn’t spot pitches and got hit pretty hard early, so it cost us.”
In Game 1, Justin Palmbos had his best game of the season picking up the win (2-2), throwing seven innings of shutout baseball allowing just one hit with 14 strikeouts and no walks.
Will Harris had a huge day on offense going 2 for 3 with a homerun and two runs batted in. Dalton Phillips also went 2 for 3 with a walk. Phillips drove in a run and scored two as well.
“Defense really won us the first game,” Cupples said. “We had consistent offense throughout the game, but really not making many errors and Justin’s pitching got us the win.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Raiders struggled right out of the gate giving up 11 runs in the first inning, proving to be the difference in the game.
“We did a good job offensively of trying to get back in the game,” Cupples said. “We just were not mentally in the game defensively in the first inning, and didn’t hit our spots pitching throughout the game.”
Brad Buurstra took the loss (0-3) pitching just one third of the first inning, giving up nine runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks. Ean Walda pitched 1.2 innings allowing four runs, only two of which were earned. Walda also had three strikeouts with three walks. Jackson Shaver pitched a solid three innings of work, allowing just one run on two hits and one walk with a strikeout. Shane Odzark pitched the final inning giving up no runs on one hit and no walks.
Hitting wise, Brendan Johnson led the way, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Jalen Cox also had a nice game hitting 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
“If we could avoid getting in an early hole like we did, I think the final result could of been different,” Cupples said. “We have to play good from the start of the game more consistently.”
Cupples thinks the team is playing much better, but the weather doesn’t help the situation.
“It would be nice to play a home game or get outside and practice, but we make do with what we have,” Cupples said. “I think we can get back on the winning track if we develop more consistency, it’s just hard to do always playing in the gym.”
The Raiders will play another doubleheader at 2 p.m. today, at Muskegon Community College.