LAKEVIEW — Missed opportunities cost the Lakeview Wildcats baseball team a win.
Trailing early, the Wildcats battled back to take the lead against the Big Rapids Cardinals only to give the lead and the game away the next inning in a 9-8 loss at home on Tuesday night.
Down 3-1 after four innings, the Wildcats scored four times in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead. Lakeview pitcher Kyler Ridgeway got the Cardinals into two quick outs in the sixth inning, but back-to-back errors put Big Rapids in front for the final time.
“We battled and came back after getting down in the first inning,” Lakeview coach Ryan Vellanti said. “We just have to make that two out play when we have the chance. When you get that chance to end the inning you have to do it and we did not do it today.”
Ridgeway suffered the loss in seven innings of work, allowing nine runs, one earned with four strikeouts and three walks.
“He has been good for us all year, from day one,” Vellanti said of Ridgeway. “He has throw really well and is now 4-3. All three losses are one earned run games. Can’t ask for anything more. He has been doing a great job.”
Big Rapids (9-14, 4-7) opened the game with two runs in the first inning on one infield hit. A walk an error started the inning.
Lakeview (7-11, 6-8) got one run back on an RBI double by Calvin Englund to trail 2-1.
“I thought we came out of the gate. I thought their (Lakeview) pitcher did really well,” Big Rapids coach Ben Oleson said. “Early on we were able to get a couple of decent swings on him and laid down a few bunts. We took advantage of a mistake early and it was nice get an early lead on the road.”
Geoff Pisani doubled in the fourth inning for Big Rapids and score two batters later on an RBI single by Josh Jones to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.
The Wildcats left eight runners on base during the second through fourth innings.
“We couldn’t get that two out hit,” Vellanti said. “We had been swinging the bat really well the last week or so. We pounded the ball against White Cloud, but left a lot of guys on tonight and couldn’t get the hit when we needed it.”
Lakeview found an offensive groove in the fifth innings, scoring three times on four hits to take a 4-3.
“Every time you extend innings, whether it’s you or the other team, it’s all about opportunities,” Oleson said. “That has been our story all year long. We have a good inning, make some mistakes and give back the lead.”
Ridgeway got the first two Cardinals out in the top of the sixth inning, which made it seven straight retired hitters.
Jones singled, but the next two hitters reached base on infield errors, which would have ended the inning. The errors led to three runs, two on a hit by Sterling Brinker to give the Cardinals a 6-4 lead.
“We made a couple of mistakes and then the game was tied and then they took the lead,” Oleson said. “We were able to come back on a miss play by them to tie the game. We tacked some runs on in the seventh, which we needed.”
Big Rapids tacked on three runs in the seventh inning for a 9-4 lead. Lakeview fought back to score four times and ended the game with two runners on base.
Jacob Ridgeway had two RBIs, while Cameron Bunker and Brad Hamlin each had one RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Englund finished with three hits, while Hamlin had two hits.
Tim Folkema earned the win for Big Rapids in relief of Axel Freiberg.
Big Rapids won game two 8-6.
Lakeview’s Jordan Stephens took the loss in relief. Hamlin had two hits. Englund had two RBIs, while Garrett Cavendish, Cameron Decker and Jacob Ridgeway each had one RBI.
The Wildcats travel to Hesperia on Thursday for a doubleheader.