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Raiders split in their rivalry matchup

(Photo courtesy of GRCC Athletics)

By Jackson Heiden

Starting pitcher redshirt-freshman Caleb Engelsman did it all for the Grand Rapids Community College baseball team today, as the Raiders’ won in walk-off fashion, 5-4, in the first game of their Sunday afternoon doubleheader against their rival Muskegon Community College.

Not much was going for either side offensively, as the only action through the first four innings came from  redshirt-freshman Ryan Dykstra who had a double in the bottom of the first. Engelsman started what was his impressive day on the mound by notching two of his seven strikeouts during the stretch. 

The Jayhawks caught the Raiders sleeping, as a single and a couple of errors made by the Raiders’ defense, they found themselves down one with only one out in the top of the fourth. Engelsman quickly settled down and struck out the remaining batters to notch strikeouts three and four in the afternoon. 

After a quiet fourth inning for the Raiders, they got their revenge as redshirt-freshman Andres Rivera-Calderon drew a one-out walk. Following the walk, they were able to draw an error on a ground ball hit by redshirt-freshman Camden Keatley, setting up the Raiders with runners on second and third with only one out in the inning. Freshman Dominic Palmara came through when they needed him most as a ground ball single to center gave the Raiders a nice 2-1 lead by the end of the inning. 

The Raiders’ lead didn’t last too long as the following inning the Jayhawks hit a couple of singles, drew an error, and hit a base clearing triple to give themselves a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. 

There wasn’t much going on for the next two-half innings until the bottom of the seventh. The Raiders’ quickly got some life as freshman Zacarias Salinas drew a lead-off walk. However, all momentum looked lost as back-to-back flyouts quickly put the Raiders down with two outs and a runner left on first. Back-to-back singles quickly gave the Raiders some hope to potentially tie it with a base hit. After dominating all game despite giving up four runs, Engelsman steps in and knocks a bases-clearing triple to left field to give the Raiders the 5-4 win over the Jayhawks.

Engelsman finished his afternoon on the bump with the complete game, throwing seven strikeouts while only giving up three earned runs on six hits. Not to mention the clutch hit to give the Raiders the win. Palamara finished his afternoon with two hits in three at-bats driving in two runs. 

Whereas pitching was the theme for the first game, the offense was the theme for game two as the Jayhawks outhit the Raiders, winning 9-6. The Jayhawks started their dominating offense with six straight batters reaching base to start the top of the second inning, pushing the score to 4-0.

With one out in the bottom of the third, the Raiders hit a couple of singles which were then driven in by freshman Xander Reisberg, cutting into the Jayhawks’ lead 4-2. However, the Raiders couldn’t catch a break as a triple and a single by the Jayhawks pushed their lead to 5-2.

Momentum finally started to change as the Raiders drew three walks, scoring one run on a passed ball by the Jayhawks to make the score 5-3. The Raiders’ had to wait until the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game as two walks led to a redshirt-freshman Max Varon doubling to drive in one to make it 5-4. Salinas came up and grounded out while driving in a crucial game-tying run to make it 5-5. 

The tie game didn’t last more than a half-inning as the Jayhawks came out looking patient, drawing two walks along with two singles to give themselves a 6-5 lead with bases still loaded. The Jayhawks unloaded them all with a base hit single to take the lead 9-5 going into the bottom of the sixth. 

Following the Raiders’ single in the bottom of the sixth, Dylan Chargo doubled to make it 9-6. That would be all for the Raiders scoring on the day as in the bottom of the seventh they once again found themselves with bases loaded and two outs, however, the Jayhawks got their revenge by popping out freshman Dylan Chargo to end the game. 

The Raiders’ record stays idle as they are now 4-4 in conference play and 10-14 overall. The Raiders look to bounce back as they welcome home Lansing Community College, Tuesday, April 12, at 2 p.m. at Belknap Park.

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