Kalamazoo Valley split their 2019 home finale Saturday against Grand Rapids with a 4-3 walkoff victory in game one and a 3-2 defeat in game two. The game one win clinched second place for the Cougars in the MCCAA Western Conference standings and punches a ticket to the NJCAA Region XII tournament for the fourth consecutive season.
KVCC didn’t lead in game one until they scored the walkoff winner on a bases loaded walk to Lucas Coker. GRCC went ahead with two runs in the third inning via an error, single, and hit batsmen. The Cougars tied the game in the fifth inning on a two-run home run from Mattawan alum Mitch Begeman, also scoring Ben Mets.
In the sixth, the Raiders chased starting pitcher Nate Wargolet from the mound and put runners at second and third with one out. After a strikeout for reliever Sean Allison, GRCC’s Jared Bujdos brought in Alec Lockwood with a RBI single for the lead. Jake Ryan also attempted to score from second, but was gunned down at home by center fielder Carter Smith to hold the score at 3-2.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Grand Rapids starter Jacob Wosinski began to tire with over 100 pitches thrown. Drew Cameron opened with a single, followed by two quick Cougar outs. From there, Wosinski walked Begeman and Trent Quartermaine, loading the bases. Cade Stanton then hit a weak grounder halfway to the mound for an infield single, tying the game as Cameron scored.
At 135 pitches, Wosinski was pulled in favor of Josh Greiffendorf, who just needed to retire Coker to force extras. However, Coker was walked on five pitches, bringing Begeman home for the win.
Wargolet pitched five and 1/3 for Kalamazoo Valley with five hits, three runs (one earned), three strikeouts, and two walks. Allison went the remaining one and 2/3 with two hits and zero runs, plus two strikeouts.
W- Sean Allison 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 K, 1 BB
L- Jacob Wosinski 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 11 K, 6 BB
Listen back to the game one broadcast here.
A lead-off hit-by-pitch to Jordan Ball led to the opening Raider run on a third inning ground out. A one out walk, single, and error gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead after four. The Cougars loaded the bases to start the fifth on a single, walk, and hit batsmen, chasing GRCC pitcher Logan Campbell from the mound. Campbell finished with three hits and two earned runs over four innings with seven strikeouts and four walks.
Against reliever Noah Scyzoryk, Quartermaine brought in Smith via sacrifice fly. After a strikeout, Coker tied the game with a RBI single, plating Mets. A walk loaded the bases back up, but Scyzoryk escaped the jam with a strikeout. The Raiders loaded the bases themselves in the sixth with two outs, but Cougar starter Ben Thomas left all three runners stranded with a strikeout.
In the seventh inning, GRCC’s Dylan McMaster started with a single and stolen base. Thomas retired the next two, but a two out error brought McMaster home for what was ultimately the clinching run. Only one of Thomas’s three runs allowed were earned in his complete game effort, allowing four hits.
Raider reliever Logan Fleming pitched a perfect sixth in relief, then retired the first two in the seventh. Stanton singled to keep the Cougars alive, but an excellent diving catch on a line drive to center fielder Jordan Ball secured the GRCC victory.
W- Logan Fleming 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K
L- Ben Thomas 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Listen back to the game two broadcast here.
The series and regular season concludes with two more games in Grand Rapids Sunday at 1 p.m. Kalamazoo Valley moves to 27-13 overall and 20-6 in the MCCAA Western Conference. They’ll play Eastern Conference #2 Jackson Wednesday in the MCCAA seeding tournament at Siena Heights, then move from there to the NJCAA Region XII tournament May 14-17 in Sandusky, Ohio.
Grand Rapids could still join them in Sandusky, as they battle with Lake Michigan and Muskegon for the third spot. The Raiders sit at 16-10 in the Western Conference and 21-22 overall.