Eagle "9" defeat LakeVille; split at Beal City Invite
On Friday, May 20 LakeVille rolled into town for one of the final TVC match-ups of the year. The Eagles jumped out in front with a 1-0 lead in the first. Josh Szczepanski led off with a single, stole second, took third on an error and was driven home on a single by Randy Khan. The game remained 1-0 until the fourth. In the top of the inning LakeVille led off with a single. A hit batter and a passed ball put runners on second and third. A ground ball led to a play at the plate, unfortunately an out could not be made and the game was tied at one. An infield single let another LakeVille run score and a sacrifice fly to center put the Eagles down 3-1.
In the fifth, pinch hitter Grant Leach laced a ground ball to short and beat the throw to first. A passed ball moved Leach to second and a ground out by Zach Freier moved him to third. A wild pitch allowed Leach to score from third and bring the Eagles to within one.
The Eagles sprang to life in the bottom of the sixth. Brady Wood started things off by driving a fly ball to the wall in center for a triple. Jack Tagget walked, then stole second with the infield playing in. Jakob Baarck entered the game to run for Tagget. A single by Danny Mills tied the game at 3-3 when Wood scored and moved Baarck to third. Jared Davis entered the game to pinch hit and singled to drive home both Baarck and Mills to put the Eagles up 5-3.
A walk by Connor Maurer and a bunt single by Grant Reene loaded the bases. An attempted double play on a ground ball was beat out and allowed Davis to score and kept the bases loaded. A fly ball by Szczepanski let Maurer tag up from third. A double steal by Leach and Freier moved the runners up and an error on the throw let Leach score. Freier then stole third and an errant throw let him score as well. A walk and a stolen base by Wood put him in scoring position for Tagget who doubled to drive him home and the Eagles led 10-3. An efficient top of the seventh by Eagle closer Zach Freier sealed the win.
Garrett Rezmer threw a solid game for the win. He threw six innings giving up four hits and three earned runs, four walks and five strike outs.
Eight different Eagles spread out eight hits, Davis, Leach and Reene each went 1-1. Wood had the long ball with a triple and Tagget had the other extra base hit with a double.
After the seniors were recognized for their hard work and dedication to baseball at FHS, the Eagles took the field for their regular season home game of the season. An all senior starting line-up scored early and often. Khan singled and Wood walked to put the Eagles in scoring position. A double over the head of center scored the two runners and the Eagles were off to the races. An error by the pitcher allowed Leach to reach first and advance to second while Tagget scored. In the second, Chandler Lail singled to start things again. Szczepanski followed with a single and Khan hit an RBI single that brought Lail home. A passed ball moved the runners up and a single by Wood scored Szczepanski and put runners on the corners. Wood stole second and a sac fly by Tagget drove Khan home. An error put Maurer on and allowed Wood to score to give the Eagles the 7-0 lead.
A two out rally in the third plated two more Eagle runs. Lail reached base on error and advanced on a passed ball. Szczepanski and Khan walked to load the bases. A single by Wood drove Lail and Szczepanski home for a 9-0 lead.
Baarck started off the fourth with a walk and stole second. A single by Reene brought Baarck around to score. Jacob Berg picked up his first hit of the season with a double that moved Reene around to third. Lail drove a solid line drive to center that scored Reene and Berg to go up 12-0.
A lead off double, a passed ball and a ground out plated a LakeVille run in the bottom of the fourth. In the fifth, Wood drove a triple to the wall in center then was driven home by a ground out from Tagget. The RBI for Jack was his 90th of his career at FHS and tied the record for career RBI’s set by Adam Bender in 2001 and put the Eagles up 13-1. The bottom of the inning was retired in order by starting pitcher Jacob Berg who picked up his first win of the season tonight as well.
Berg threw all five innings giving up four hits, one earned run and five walks, while striking out four.
Lail and Wood each went 3-3 on the night and accounted for six of the Eagles 14 hits. Szczepanski and Khan each had solid nights as well going 2-3.
The wins bring the Eagles to 13-8-1 overall and 9-2-1 in the TVC firmly in second place with North Branch beating Bridgeport on Thursday for their final TVC games.
“It was a great night of baseball and was special for the seniors as they continued their winning ways with a sweep,” commented Head Coach Gordon Culver. “The Eagle defense has been improving too and players are stepping up when we need them too. I like how this team is coming together as we head into districts.”
The Eagles traveled to Beal City on Saturday, May 21, for the Beal City Invitational for the third straight year. The invite hosts some of the best competition in the state and the Eagles started by taking on the division 4 #5 ranked Beal City Aggies.
Zach Freier took the mound for the Eagles and went toe to toe with the Aggies #1 pitcher. Each team had a few base runners early, but couldn’t cross the plate. The Eagles struck first in the top of the third. Khan started things out with a single. Wood followed with a double and Khan moved to third. Tagget then doubled over the center fielder’s head and plated both runners. Those two RBI’s allowed Tagget to break the career RBI’s record which now stands at 92. Danny Mills was hit by the pitch and Jared Davis came in to courtesy run for him. A passed ball moved the runners up and a single by Maurer plated Tagget and Davis and gave the Eagles a 4-0 lead. An error on the throw from the pitcher to first let Jared Lachman safely reach first then a beautiful bunt by Reene rolled right down the line and everyone was safe without a throw. Freier helped his own cause by drawing a walk that forced Maurer home. The Eagles made it 6-0 when Lachman scored after Khan beat out a double play attempt.
A single, hit batter and a couple ground outs plated two Aggie runs in the fourth, but Freier settled in and shut them down with three strong innings to close the game out.
The Eagles scored again in the fifth inning. Reene singled, a Freier walk and a bunt by Szczepanski loaded the bases when he beat the play out. An attempted double play on a grounder by Khan scored Reene, but the Aggie shortstop threw the ball into the dirt and Freier took advantage and scored putting the Eagles up 8-2.
Both teams went pretty quietly for the final innings and the Eagles picked up their first win at the Beal City Invite since attending there.
Zach Freier threw a great game in his complete game win, giving up two runs, walking two, allowing three hits while striking out three.
Szczepanski and Reene led the offense. Szczepanski went 2-4 and Reene went 2-3 with a run scored. Khan and Tagget each picked up two RBI’s.
The second game of the Beal City Invite saw the Eagles take on Division 2 #10 ranked Grand Rapid Kenowa Hills. The Knights pitcher was tough and used four pitches to baffle the Eagle hitters all day.
Lail kept the Knights off the board until the third. A one out walk and an error on a steal attempt put a runner on third, who scored on a ground out to second. The Knights broke it open with a four run fourth with the help of a couple walks, two hit batters and an error. It took the Eagles until the fifth to break up the no hitter, Reene dropped a curling flair down the line in left for a single, unfortunately that would be all the offense the Eagles would muster until Tagget singled in the top of the seventh.
The split on the day brings the Eagles to 14-9-1 on the season and moving in the right direction towards districts on June 4. The Eagles have a busy week on the road at Reese, at Dow Diamond on Wednesday vs Pinconning and closing out the TVC at Millington on Friday.
Reene went 1-2 on the day and Tagget had the other Eagle hit going 1-3. Lail took the loss giving up five runs, four earned and walking six. Leach threw relief innings, giving up three earned runs on six walks.
Khan finished the game off throwing the final frame giving up one walk.