Two area baseball teams came up victorious in Wednesday’s regional semifinal round with three others seeing their seasons come to a close. Portage Northern picked up a 10-0 win over Dexter and Colon stunned fourth-ranked Hudson 2-0 on Hudson’s own diamond. Meanwhile; Gull Lake dropped a 9-1 result to Grand Ledge, Parchment fell 6-3 to conference foe Buchanan, and Kalamazoo Christian was knocked out by Decatur 4-1.
(Division 1 at Mattawan)
Portage Northern 10, Dexter 0
The high-powered Husky offense came out firing with four runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Helgeson picked up a leadoff single, followed by back-to-back RBI doubles from Zach Quinn and Nolan McCarthy. Cam French walked, then Gannon Andrews plated both McCarthy and French on a two RBI single.
“I almost like being the visitors because I like being able to go out and score first,” said PN head coach Chris Andrews. “It’s a huge momentum boost and it kind of deflates other teams when you come out and put four on the board.”
The next burst came with a four-run fourth inning with the first three men getting on to load the bases. Zach Quinn brought in Malcolm Gaynor on an infield single and chased starting pitcher Jacoby Haley after only three completed innings. The three men on base when he was pulled all would ultimately score.
A wild pitch from reliever Reed Ladd brought in Jack Beffel. Ladd would get the next two batters out, although Helegson would score via a Greg Lapetina sacrifice fly. Parker Brey then doubled in Quinn for the 8-0 PN advantage. Quinn scored Beffel on a RBI single in the fifth inning and McCarthy smacked a solo home run in the sixth, his eighth big-fly of the year.
French’s pitching helped sink the Dreadnaughts, as he allowed only three hits and no walks over four shutout innings. Helgeson pitched the remaining two innings in relief with only a hit against him. Both men struck out two.
Helegson and Quinn each had three hits with three RBI for Quinn. McCarthy and Andrews both added two RBI. Helgeson, Quinn, McCarthy, and Beffel picked up two runs apiece.
Ladd pitched the remainder for Dexter, giving up seven hits and two earned runs over three innings. Haley had eight hits and eight runs against him in his three innings as the Dreadnaughts finish the season at 19-14.
W- Cam French 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
L- Jacoby Haley 3 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 4 K, 3 BB
Listen back to the PN/Dexter broadcast here.
Second-ranked Portage Northern improves to 35-7 and faces Grand Ledge in a rematch of last season’s regional final. Last year, the Comets knocked out the Huskies with a 5-1 result.
“I’ve played (Grand Ledge) and they’ve knocked me out of regionals a lot of times,” noted Andrews. “Well coached, they’re always solid.”
The regional semifinal between Portage Northern and Grand Ledge is set for a 10 a.m. start Saturday from Kalamazoo College.
(Division 1 at East Lansing)
Grand Ledge 9, Gull Lake 1
The Comets started hot with their own four-run first inning against the Blue Devils, chasing starting pitcher Brandon Ruge after one inning. The Comets added solo spots in the second, sixth, and seventh innings with two coming home in the fourth.
Gull Lake’s lone run came in the third inning as Dylan Stanton brought in JT Mansager on a RBI double. Mansager had two of the five Blue Devil hits. Jack Blesch finished with five innings in relief with six hits and four runs allowed.
The Blue Devils finish at 26-7 and graduate seniors Hunter Hazel, Brandon Ruge, JT Mansager, Dawson Clancy, Kole Warren, Nick Fadden, Luke Mastromatteo and Avery Eastman.
Grand Ledge moves to 27-5-1 and faces Portage Northern in Saturday’s regional final at 10 a.m. from Kalamazoo College.
(Division 4 at Hudson)
Colon 2, Hudson 0
The Magi knocked out the fourth-ranked Tigers on Hudson’s own field with excellent pitching and error-free defense. Micky Barkman pitched the first four innings, scattering five hits and two walks with one strikeout. Audi Stoll closed things in the final three frames with just one hit and two walks surrendered with two Ks.
Andrew Smolarz started the third inning with a single and was moved to second on a sacrifice. Phil Alva singled next to put runners at the corners for Colon. Alva then distracted Hudson with a steal of second, allowing Smolarz to come home for the first run.
Colon got another leadoff single in the fourth via Andy Stoll, who would be brought home on Johnathan West’s RBI single. Both Stoll and West had two of the seven Magi hits.
Now 23-3, Colon continues to Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. regional final at Gobles, where they will face Battle Creek St. Philip.
(Division 4 at Decatur)
Decatur 4, Kalamazoo Christian 1
All four Raider runs came in a decisive third inning that had two hits, a walk, a hit batsmen, an error, a wild pitch, and passed ball. Decatur ace Jakob Southworth kept the Comets at bay, getting all but the final out with only five hits allowed and six strikeouts.
Kalamazoo Christian’s lone run was in the fifth inning. Pitcher Michael Moralez opened the inning with a leadoff double, then his courtesy runner Wyatt Steensma was scored on Derek McClure’s ensuing single. Moralez pitched five innings, giving up four runs (one earned) and four hits with six strikeouts.
The Comets close the year at 25-10-1 and graduate seniors JJ Gasaway, Josh Egberts, Zach Kranstz, Alec Corwin, Michael Moralez, and Elliot Lemmer.
Decatur is on the opposite side of the Gobles region from Colon, as the fifth-ranked Raiders play River Valley in the 10 a.m. semifinal.
(Division 3 at Lawton)
Buchanan 6, Parchment 3
The ninth-ranked Bucks raced ahead of their conference rival with a four-run third inning, aided by three Parchment errors. The Panthers were able to get three runs back in the fourth inning via four singles, but they’d be held to only one hit for the rest of the game. Buchanan added two more runs for cushion in the fifth.
Jacob Bielski pitched five innings for Parchment, giving up six hits and six runs (two earned) with four strikeouts. Alex Guzior had two hits for a run and RBI. Chase Covell and Evan Jasiak also scored.
Parchment’s season ends with a 21-11-2 record. They’ll lose seniors Seth Somers, Matt Laske, Cam Esman, and Zach Rome.
Buchanan (23-8) meets Bronson in the 12:30 p.m. regional final Saturday at Coloma.