The Grand Rapids Community College Bbaseball team took the field against the Muskegon Community College Jayhawks and earned a split of the doubleheader at Belknap Park in Grand Rapids.
Saturday’s doubleheader was a makeup from Friday’s postponement due to unplayable conditions of the field at Belknap Park.
Saturday’s split of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference doubleheader was just another example of the close competition in the rivalry. The Raiders (15-17, 9-4 MCCAA – W) and the Jayhawks (15-14, 7-7 MCCAA – W) split last season’s matchups as well with each team stealing a game on the road.
Game one on Saturday started quickly for the Jayhawks with a run by their leadoff hitter and shortstop, Nate Bonter. He led the game off with a double and was plated later on a wild pitch from Raiders right handed sophomore pitcher Bruce Buurstra.
The Jayhawks then extended their lead to three in the second inning with back to back doubles from centerfielder Brady Keur and second baseman Jake Hansen, who later scored on a throwing error from left fielder Alec Lockwood. Those would be the last runs they score until the fifth inning.
The home half of the third inning was a fast, but productive one for the Raiders. Sophomore designated hitter Josh Robbins singled to left following a strike-out from sophomore center fielder Dylan Limbacher. Robbins was then granted passage to second base following a throwing error from Jayhawks sophomore pitcher Cade Cintorino. Robbins finally came home on a single from sophomore first baseman Alec Overbeek.
Overbeek was then scored quickly as sophomore catcher Cam Brayman unloaded on a pitch and drove it to right field. The ball carried over the fence for a two-run shot to tie the game at three runs apiece.
The Raiders were not done scoring in game one
Not even close.
Freshman third baseman, Brady Paganelli, swung for strike three but a wild pitch from, Cintorino gave him access to first base.
Lockwood and freshman second baseman, Austin Anderson, singled in consecutive at bats which loaded the bases. Limbacher followed that with a two-run double. Robbins cleared the bases with a single, and that was it for Cintorino. He was pulled after three innings and five batters into the fourth, giving up nine runs on eight hits, issued three walks and struck out three. Cintorino was also charged with the loss and that moved him to 2-2 on his record.
The Raiders were still not done scoring in the fourth. A wild pitch from freshman reliever, Sean Casey, an error from sophomore right fielder, Jared Weirngo, in the same at bat and a sacrifice fly from Brayman gave the Raiders three more runs, giving them eight. Paganelli knocked in a pair of runners in his second at bat of the inning to push the Raider lead to 10-3.
In the fifth, the Jayhawks drew two runs closer as sophomore first baseman, Brett Veltema, belted a Buurstra offering to straight-away center field. They managed to put a runner to third base but left him stranded.
Both teams put runners in scoring position in the sixth but stranded them as well. The Jayhawks left six men on base and the Raiders left seven in game one.
Freshman pitcher, Logan Flemming, came on in the seventh and put the Jayhawks down in order to end game one.
Buurstra (3-3) was credited with the win and gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits, granted a pair of free passes, struck out four in six innings. Flemming struck out one of the three batters he faced in game one.
“We see signs of doing things right,” Head Coach Mike Cupples said following game two. “I think hitting-wise, we started slow but then we picked it up.”
Game two was a little bit less of an offensive show, more of a defensive clinic.
The Raiders threatened with runners in scoring position in the first two innings but left them high and dry.
Except for a hit batsmen to lead off the game, freshman pitcher, Jacob Wosinski, started the game strong. He didn’t give up a hit until the third inning when freshman second baseman Collin Houseman ripped a RBI double to right field, which scored Keur who was on following a walk. He was almost immediately scored on a double to left from Veltema, which pushed the Jayhawk lead to two runs.
Wosinski took a line drive to the shin off the bat of freshman catcher, Tyus Beach, and returned to the game in the next inning, but he was in obvious pain following the play.
“Wosinski takes a line drive off the shin, he’s got a bruise about (the size of a softball) and he goes back out there, they’re tough,” Cupples said.
Each team sent four men to the plate in the fourth inning, stranding the one man that made it on base.
In the away half of the fifth, the Jayhawks went down in order but Paganelli, freshman shortstop, Isaac Raab and Overbeek combined for a smooth 4-6-3 double play to end the frame.
The fifth saw the Raiders tie the game on runs scored by Limbacher and Robbins, who both made it on via walks. Limbacher was scored by a single from Raab, and Robbins was scored from an error on Jayhawk sophomore pitcher, Joe Huesing.
Raab advanced as far as third base before the side was retired.
The Jayhawks took the lead in the sixth inning, Beach walked then advanced to third on a single from freshman first baseman, Jon Henry. Beach then scored the Jayhawks’ third run of the contest on a wild pitch from Wosinski.
Henry also advanced to third but was eventually stranded.
The Raiders went quietly in the home half of the sixth. Following that Flemming struck out the side in the top of the seventh. Much to the chagrin of the Jayhawk bench, who were issued a warning by plate umpire, Kevin Weber, for arguing balls and strikes. Bonter was then ejected from the game for the same reason and using less-than-PG language to let Weber know he did not agree with the call.
In the home half, the Raiders tied the game when Raab scored following a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch from freshman pitcher, Andrew Tokarz. Raab then advanced to third on a strikeout by Overbeek, then finally scored the tying run on another wild pitch from Tokarz.
Fans at Belknap Park were treated to bonus baseball and both teams went down in order for a quick eighth inning. The Jayhawks fell in order in the ninth as well, and the Raiders showed promise with a runner in scoring position but could not capitalize.
The Jayhawks scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning when freshman second baseman Jake Conklin, who took over for Bonter, scored on a RBI double from Veltema. That was Veltema’s fourth RBI of the day, and second of the game.
It proved to be the most important run as the Raiders threatened to tie the game with the bases loaded but Limbacher grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
Freshman pitcher Jonas Smith (2-1) was given the win for the Jayhawks and Flemming (0-3) was charged with the loss in game two.
The Raiders left an astounding 13 men on base, and Cupples knows that cannot happen for the team to be successful.
“I think we lost it in the first couple innings,” Cupples said. “We had chances to get some runs in and we looked at called third strikes. You can blame it on a little bit of the weather, we’re not playing a lot but when you come down to it, it’s just you gotta swing the bat when you get two strikes.”
Brayman was disappointed by his team’s loss, but was optimistic about the way the Raiders played.
“I think both teams came out and played our best games,” Brayman said following game two. “We had some key mistakes that cost us the second game but overall we played pretty good.”
Brayman was in agreement with Cupples and understanding that the Raiders need to take more chances at the plate.
“We just have to be smarter when we’re at the plate,” Brayman said. “We have to look for our pitch, not just chase. When we see it we hit it.”
The Raiders will have to rebound from Saturday’s split quickly as they take on the Lake Michigan College Redhawks Sunday at 1 p.m. at Belknap Park.