STANTON – Two baseball teams struggling to get wins this season met at Central Montcalm Tuesday, and one is no longer struggling.
That team would be the Lakeview Wildcats, who beat the Green Hornets 6-4 and 7-0 in a Central State Activities Association doubleheader.
“It always feels good to get two wins, especially in the conference,” Lakeview coach Ryan Vellanti said. “We’ve been playing a lot better lately. I think we’ve won five out of our last six.”
The Wildcats (7-10, 4-5) got a scare in the first game when starting pitcher Kyler Ridgeway took a line drive off his pitching hand in the second inning. He stayed in the game, but his effectiveness was noticeably down.
“When he’s in the strike zone he’s tough. The walks usually get him in trouble,” Vellanti said.
Ridgeway allowed a run in the first and a run in the second, but his team got single runs in the first and third innings for a tie game, then took the lead with a sacrifice fly from Jordan Stephens in the fourth, then scored twice in the fifth and once in the sixth for a 6-2 lead.
Central (5-11, 3-9) scored a couple of runs in the bottom of the sixth and had the tying run at the plate in the seventh but a lineout double play ended the game.
“We committed more errors than they (Lakeview) did,” Central coach Rocky Studley said. “That’s all it is; too many errors and too many guys standing on bases right now.”
In fact, the Hornets left the bases loaded three times for a total of 13 runners stranded in seven innings.
Ridgeway got the win, going five innings and allowing three hits but six walks, striking out four.
Austin Edwards took the loss after scattering 10 hits while fanning seven and walking three.
Joey Cole led Lakeview with a 3-for-4 day at the plate. The only Central player with more than one was Will Plavan with two.
The second game was a pitchers duel for the first five innings. The only run scored in that time was an RBI single by Lakeview’s Calvin Englund in the fourth inning.
But the Wildcats blew open the game with six runs in the sixth inning on four hits. The Hornets contributed with four errors in that inning alone.
“We didn’t play well,” Studley said. “We committed too many errors and left too many guys on base. They (Lakeview) came out and played better ball than we did (Tuesday night).”
The rest was on the pitching arm of Damion Beckett, who threw a three-hitter — all to Oryan Wetherington, who was 3-for-3. Beckett struck out nine without a walk.
“Damion, that’s two straight starts where he’s been lights out,” Vellanti said. “Even though he lost to Cheboygan Saturday 3-0, he only threw 85 pitches for seven innings. He’s been doing really well.”
England and Jared Taylor had two hits each for Lakeview.
“We hit the ball hard. At them a couple of times that could have been big shots,” Vellanti said.
“I think we had only a couple of hard hits in that second game,” Studley said. “The rest were fly balls and soft little grounders.”
Both teams will play CSAA games on Friday. The Wildcats host White Cloud while the Hornets go to Reed City.