TOLEDO – Evergreen ACME baseball, playing without at least four key players in the opening round of the District 3 sectional tournament against Ottawa Hills Thursday, had those vacancies show as the Vikings were guilty of 12 passed balls and had four more wild pitches.
Ottawa Hills actually scored their first five runs against Tom Pollard, on just two hits and without the benefit of an RBI, taking a 5-2 lead into the sixth.
Sam Lubinski knocked in the Evergreen runs with a two-run double in the fifth, but a base running blunder in the second cost the Vikings a golden chance when they loaded the bases with one out and didn’t score.
The Viking pitching staff that had been solid all summer, had a meltdown in the sixth as Ottawa Hills plated 11 runs on just four hits, two of them of the infield variety to put the game away in a 16-2 win that dropped Evergreen into the consolation bracket.
Evergreen and Ottawa Hills actually had the same number of hits in the game, seven, but Viking pitchers walked 12 batters and hit two more.
Panthers drop two, Vikes eliminated by LC
Delta also fell in their first contest on Friday, as Napoleon doubled up the Panthers 10-5.
Napoleon got two in the first as hits from Hayden Speaks, Zack Rosebrook and Mitch Kruse loaded the bases, and a force play at second and Jake Smith’s squeeze bunt pushed home the runs.
The Wildcats added a run in the second on a walk, Jaden Brubaker’s bunt single and a pair of ground outs.
Delta fought back to tie in the third, all coming with two out.
Kayden Kurth bounced a single through the hole on the left side, then a walk and Austin Michaels’ bloop hit down the left field line loaded the bases.
Tristan Saeger’s fly ball to deep left was dropped for a two base error that brought home two runs, and Jayce Helminiak’s 30-foot roller down the third base line tied the game against Wildcat starter Gavin Brubaker.
The Panthers took a two run lead without the benefit of a hit in the fourth against Napoleon’s big lefty Caleb Farr.
Three walks, a stolen base and three wild pitches scored the runs.
However, from that point on Farr settled in and sent Panther after Panther back to the dugout, striking out eight in the last three innings and not allowing a hit.
Napoleon exploded for six in the fifth against Kurth on Kruse’ RBI triple to right center, Wesley Jeffries-Babcock’s run scoring single, a run-producing hit from pinch hitter Karter Burkin that gave the Wildcats the lead and then Speaks’ bases loaded double that scored all three runners to give Napoleon a 9-5 lead.
In all, Farr blew away 10 Panthers on strikes in his 4 1/3 innings of work to earn the win.
In an elimination game Saturday, Evergreen jumped on (Delta starter) Michaels for four first inning runs.
Mason Henricks’ lead off triple was followed by Lubinski’s one-out run scoring double, then two-out back-to-back doubles from Brian Floyd and Bryce Eisel, and David Carroll’s RBI single.
Lubinski threw four shutout innings and Evergreen added two more in the fourth on an error, hit batter, Adam Baumgartner’s RBI single and Henricks – who was hit by a pitch – scored when Baumgartner was caught in a rundown between first and second.
However, Lubinski tired in the fifth, giving up a walk, Max Hoffman’s single, then Helminiak’s liner to left was misplayed into a two-run double, and a wild pitch scored a third run to make it 6-3 before Eisel came in to put down the threat.
Carroll’s double to right and a Panther error marked a Viking run in the fifth to give Evergreen a 7-3 lead, but the Panthers rallied in the seventh to tie.
With two on and two out, Hunter Hamilton’s single scored a run and a walk loaded the bases for Michaels.
Michaels’ drive to right center turned into a bases clearing double that tied the game before Eisel got Brady Wymer to bounce out to end the inning.
However, Evergreen came right back in the bottom of the inning against Hamilton to win the game.
RJ Schunk led off with a line drive single, then a walk and a bounce out put runners at second and third and Carroll’s smash up the middle was knocked down but couldn’t have a play made on it to bring in the winning run.
Evergreen advanced to play Liberty Center later that day and with pitching reaching the end of the gas tank, the Tigers took advantage of six first innings walks to score four runs without a hit after Schunk’s two-run double had given the Vikings an early lead.
However, the Vikes came back to regain the lead in the second against Austin Like as Baumgartner ripped a two-run triple to the right center field fence and Lubinski followed with a double into the right center gap to give Evergreen a 5-4 lead.
LC reclaimed the lead in the third when after three walks, Like floated a two-run single into short left to make it 6-5.
The Vikings knotted things back up in the fifth on Carroll’s RBI hit up the middle.
The Tigers again grabbed a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth on a walk, Cole Zeiter’s sharp single, a fielder’s choice and after another walk, a well executed double steal to make it 8-6.
But Evergreen came back in the seventh on an error, Carroll’s booming triple to right and a dropped fly ball in left to tie the game.
The back and forth battle ended in the bottom of the inning as Like’s bases loaded single after two errors and a walk provided the game winner.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org