Home Sports Baseball Dominating of late, Raiders baseball hammers the Saints’ for fourth straight win

Dominating of late, Raiders baseball hammers the Saints’ for fourth straight win

The GRCC baseball team (Breegan Petruska/The Collegiate)

By Nelson Hubbell

The Grand Rapids Community College baseball team took control early and never let go, winning their away game on Wednesday, March 23 against the Aquinas College Saints’ JV in dominating fashion, 8-1. 

GRCC only had to drive 15 minutes down the road in Grand Rapids to the Meijer Sports Complex to come away with a victory in a cold, rainy, and windy game. “I still don’t think I can feel my feet,” said Mike Eddington, the head coach of the Raiders’.

It may have been cold, but the weather didn’t affect the Raiders’ one bit. Led offensively by freshman designated hitter Dylan Chargo (3-5), the Raiders broke onto the scene with two runs in the top of the first inning. Andres Rivera-Calderon (0-1) drew a base on balls as the two spot hitter. He advanced to second base the very next play on a failed pickoff attempt by Saints’ starting pitcher Caden Gregory. A Chargo RBI single, and a Caleb Engelsman (2-4) RBI triple, scored the first two runs of the game.

Chargo finished the game with three RBI singles, regularly coming up big with runners in scoring position. Rivera was walked three times out of four at bats and scored each time he reached base. The Saints, who didn’t score until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, gave up innings of one, two, two, and three runs to the Raiders.

At this point in the season it’s all about building confidence and the Raiders seem to be gaining a lot of it. Coming off of a spring break stretch where they went 0-10 and won their final game of the break, the Raiders have now won four-straight matches and mercy ruled their opponent in the three previous to their victory yesterday against the Saints’ JV.

“On spring break, our guys gained a lot of confidence knowing that they could compete with some of the top D1 JUCO guys,” Eddington said. “There are a lot of guys that we faced that will get drafted in the (MLB) draft this year. Although we only won one game, we lost four by one run and I think that gave our guys a lot of confidence too. We’re happy where we’re going, but it’s a process, and we just need to keep improving and getting better each day.”

Even while rotating in several bench players throughout to give them some in game experience, the Raiders never slowed down.

With a score of 5-0, GRCC was in full control, but a dominant sixth inning by the Raiders cracked the game wide open to 8-0. Freshmen Xander Reisbirg (1-3) and Dominic Palamara (1-3), who both came in to pinch hit in the fourth inning, were the first two batters up. Reisbig singled and Palamara doubled, putting two runners in scoring position. Rivera walked to load the bases for Ryan Dykstra (1-3) who hit a sacrifice fly that scored Reisbig and trotted Palamara to third. With runners on the corners, Chargo sliced a single into center field and scored Palamara. Rivera scored on a fielding error, where freshman first baseman Zacarias Salinas (2-5) hit a bouncing ball to the Aquinas freshman shortstop, Joey Klap.

After a shaky start from freshman starting pitcher Dean Somer in the bottom of the first inning, Somer settled in. The Raiders struck out 12 batters and only walked one. The five GRCC pitchers that played made quick work of innings two through eight, only giving up two hits and a walk throughout that span. 

“The guys that pitched today only got in one time down south (on spring break),” Eddington said. “They need experience to get better, and we just need to build on today’s outings. I think all of our pitchers did a good job. We’re very happy with the pitching today.”

Focusing on growth and improvement, the Raiders’ are just taking it one game at a time, and that strategy seems to be working for Eddington and his players. This weekend, Friday, March 24, kicks off a two doubleheader series against Mid-Michigan College. Friday’s games start at 2 p.m.

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