Defending champs beat RangersPublished 5:33pm Sunday, June 3, 2012
CASSOPOLIS – A pitcher’s duel Saturday between Brandywine’s Alex Erwin and Buchanan’s Justin Henderson in a Division 3 baseball district semifinal game eventually ended with the Bucks outlasting the Bobcats, 5-2, in 12 innings.
In the other semifinal, defending district champion Bridgman beat Cassopolis, 7-4.
Erwin and Henderson each pitched 10 innings before departing. Pitchers can only throw 30 outs in one day during the state tournament. The game was tied at 2 when the relievers entered.
Erwin allowed one earned run, six hits, struck out 11 and walked two. Henderson gave up one earned run, five hits, struck out 11 and walked two.
The tie was broken in the 12th when Buchanan scored three runs on four hits. Cash Krumrie’s squeeze bunt RBI single gave the Bucks a 3-2 lead.
Nick Troxel then followed with an RBI double and Dalton Shearer hit a sacrifice fly.
Shearer relieved Henderson in the 11th and allowed no hits and struck out four in picking up the win.
“We didn’t hit consistently all year long,” said Brandywine coach Dave Sidenbender, whose team finished with only five hits. “We had a lot of young and inexperienced guys. You’re big guys have to come through and when they don’t come through you don’t win. We didn’t come through today.”
Sidenbender was impressed with Erwin.
“He gave us 10 great innings,” Sidenbender said. “He did what a senior and a No. 1 pitcher is suppose to do. I’m going to miss him a lot and the same with all the other seniors too.”
An unearned run in the bottom of the first inning gave Brandywine a 1-0 lead. But that lead didn’t last for long as Buchanan scored an unearned run in the second. The Bobcats hurt themselves in that inning by committing two errors.
“We had one inning where didn’t field the ball very well and that pretty much cost us the game,” Sidenbender said.
In the bottom of the second, Brandywine scored a run on a wild pitch to take back the lead.
That 2-1 score lasted until the fifth inning as Buchanan got an RBI single from Henderson to tie the game.
Over the final two innings, Brandywine had only one batter reach base and that came on a hit by pitch.
Austin Searles singled twice for the Bobcats. Troxel collected three hits for the Bucks, while Henderson and Shearer each had two.
“Tip your hat to Buchanan,” Sidenbender said. “It was one of those games.”
Cassopolis never led in the other semifinal game as Bridgman jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning after No. 8 hitter Brock Belanger hit a three-run homer. Two walks came before the homer.
The Rangers then chipped away at the lead. Jessie Ritchie’s RBI single pulled Cassopolis within 3-1 in the second inning.
Cassopolis tied the game at 3 in the third inning after scoring two unearned runs. Lance Sheteron had an RBI single in the inning.
Bridgman then took the lead for good in the fifth. After a walk, Adam McLean hit a two-run homer to give the Bees a 5-3 lead. Cassopolis’ pitchers issued eight walks and hit three batters. Four Ranger pitchers also combined to strike out 11.
“Our pitchers did a decent job, but when we walked some people (Bridgman) made us pay,” said Cassopolis coach Matt Brawley.
Despite the wildness on the mound, Cassopolis was still very much in the game, especially after Dwayne Morgan hit a solo homer in the fifth for the Rangers to cut Bridgman’s lead to 5-4.
But Cassopolis couldn’t hold down the Bees. Bridgman scored two runs-one earned-in the seventh inning. Tyler Gnodtke’s RBI double highlighted the inning.
Sheteron collected two singles for the Rangers, who finished with six hits.
Winning pitcher Tyler Gnodtke struck out 10 and walked two.
Cassopolis tied a school-record with its 18 wins this season.
Division 3 District
Buchanan 010 010 000 003 – 5 11 4
Brandywine 110 000 000 000 – 2 5 4
Justin Henderson, Dalton Shearer (11-W) and Jeff Mucha; Alex Erwin, Kyle Duncan (11-L) and Austin Searles
2B: Jeff Mucha (Buchanan), Nick Troxel (Buchanan)
Buchanan 14-15, Brandywine 17-14-1
Bridgman 030 020 2 – 7 5 1
Cassopolis 012 010 0 – 4 6 1
Tyler Gnodtke (W) and Brady Wasko; Dwayne Morgan, Kevin Hatcher (2-L), Nate Blad (5), Taylor Baker (7) and Jeremiah Hartsell
2B: Gnodtke (B)
HR: Brock Belanger (B), Adam McLean (B), Morgan (C)