COMSTOCK PARK — The Belding Redskins, unfortunately, have been finding ways to lose baseball games this year.
On Wednesday night, at Fifth Third Ballpark, the Redskins did more of the same in two nonconference losses to the Cedar Springs Red Hawks.
Cedar Springs won game one 6-2 with Dan Schlump throwing six innings of three-hit baseball for the win. The Red Hawks won game two 8-2.
“We are in a funk. We are not hitting the ball and our guys know it,” Belding coach Michael Ostrander said. “I don’t want to stress them out about it. They know where we are at.”
The Red Hawks scored once in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Nick Steed reached base on an error and score two batters later on a groundout by Collin Hickok.
Belding (3-14) scored its first run in the bottom half of the third inning. Tyler Reichel reached based on a dropped third strike and scored two batters later on a groundout by Kole Hart.
“We put the bat on the ball, so they have to start falling,” Ostrander said. “We are trying different things, whether it’s small ball or moving guys on the base paths. We are not giving up on the idea that we will hit.”
Cedar Springs scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, two in the sixth inning and once in the seventh inning.
In the fourth, Mitch Kooiman led the inning off with a double and later scored on a bunt single by Cameron Mitchell.
A Belding error and hit batter led to an unearned run in the fifth inning, as the Redskins trailed 3-1, but had only allowed two hits through five innings.
“We found a lot of different ways to give them extra outs,” Ostrander said. “Catching the ball and throwing the ball. That’s all this game is. If you don’t do those things, it doesn’t matter who you are playing, they will take advantage of those mistakes.”
The Red Hawks scored on an RBI single and sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, while Tyler Timmers also had a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
Belding put the first three runners on in the bottom of the seventh inning. Brian Daller and Logan Campbell were hit by pitches, while Michael Albert singled.
Cedar Springs replaced Schlump with Evan Kobayashi, who entered and got the next three hitters out to end the game.
Sam Syrjala, Joe Bartolatto and Albert had the Redskins hits.
“We will start hitting, but when you don’t, it puts a premium on every play defensively,” Ostrander said. “Every error is so important. We have to keep fighting.”
Neil McCully took the loss in 4 2/3 innings of work. He allowed three runs, two earned runs, while striking out six. Daller pitched the final 2 1/3 innings allowing three earned runs and three hits.
“We would like to see him throw a few more strikes, but he wasn’t bad,” Ostrander said of McCully. “He certainly was not the issue. I think he did fine and he probably stays in the game longer without us giving them extra outs.”
Belding had five errors in game two, as the Red Hawks opened the game wide open with five runs in the fourth inning.
Hart suffered the loss in three innings of work. Cedar scored twice in the first and once in the second innings. Only one run was earned. Syrjala pitched in relief and allowing five unearned runs.
Syrjala, Daller and Bryce Wilker had hits for the Redskins.
Belding plays a single game today at Allendale.