By James Herold
After Saturday’s doubleheader was snowed out, the Grand Rapids Community College baseball team got back to work Monday, March 28, when they hosted Mid-Michigan College. The Raiders lost both games (6-4, 2-1) to the Lakers to open conference play.
In the first inning of game one, Mid-Michigan’s right-fielder Donovan Borg got on base with a hit to the pitcher. Capitalizing off of a couple throwing errors by GRCC, the Lakers got their first runs of the game to go up 2-0.
In the second inning, Mid-Michigan’s third basemen Andrew Charters singled through the left side, scoring Jacob Stempky to increase the Laker lead, 3-0. Mid Michigan kept piling on the runs as first baseman Aiden Arborgast doubled to right center, to tack on two more runs to up the score to 5-0.
In the fifth inning, GRCC finally got on the board, 5-1, when catcher Max Varon homered to left field. In the sixth, left-fielder Ryan Dykstra hit a two-run homerun to center field to cut more into the Laker lead, 5-3. In the same inning, designated hitter Dylan Chargon homered to right field to make it 5-4. Despite the rally by GRCC in the sixth inning, Mid-Michigan’s left-fielder Cam Steeves singled to left, scoring Camacho putting them up 6-4 to secure the win. GRCC pitcher Caleb Engelsman (0-3) took the loss, giving up five earned runs while striking out three.
“I like how we battled back, but they took advantage of a couple of our mistakes we made,” said GRCC’s head coach Mike Eddington. “I tip my cap to them. We made two errors and they scored the runs from that…our situational hitting needs to improved.”
As for the second game, scoring was at a premium. In the third inning, Dykstra hit his first homer of the year. The score stayed this way as GRCC’s starting pitcher Jerad Berkenpas (2-1) outing went smoothly, allowing just one hit through six innings. However, in the seventh, Mid-Michigan finally got on the board with a single to shortstop Engelsman, this tied the game at one. Later that inning, Mid-Michigan sealed the victory as shortstop Keegan Merenuk singled to left, scoring Donovan Borg. GRCC reliever Elliott Traver (2-3) retired the first batter he faced before the Laker walkoff win.
“…We got to be able to finish, we left some runs on,” Eddington said. “(had) some chances to score earlier in the game… gotta improve…with our situational hitting, getting guys home.”
The two teams meet again Tuesday, March 29, at 2 p.m. at Belknap Park.