No-nos and walk-offs
Caleb Myers provided the big arm.
Tim Atkinson provided the big bat.
Together they helped the Alpena baseball team to an exciting pair of wins over Cheboygan on Thursday.
Myers threw a no-hitter in just his second varsity start to help Alpena win 12-0 (five innings) in the opener and Atkinson had the game-winning hit in the second game to give the Wildcats a 7-5 win.
Making his first start of the season, Myers was dialed in from the beginning. He struck out two batters in each of the first two innings. He finished with seven strikeouts and two walks.
“It was great. The first time out for me and I had a great infield behind me to back me up, but basically the name of the game was throwing strikes and hitting my spots,” Myers said.
He had a relatively easy ninth inning, though it wasn’t short on suspense. The first two batters hit long fly balls out to center field and Myers completed the no-no after striking out Damon Proctor.
“Caleb was real efficient. His pitch count was low and the team played flawless behind him and we came out with the sticks and hit well,” Schultz said.
He threw 65 pitches for the game including 41 for strikes.
Alpena (5-1) left the bases loaded in the first inning, but backed Myers up by scoring four runs in each of the next three innings.
Atkinson finished the game with two hits and six RBIs. He came through with perhaps the game’s biggest hit in the fourth inning, clearing the bases with a triple to put Alpena ahead 12-0.
Nick Skiba drew a bases-loaded walk earlier in the inning to add a run.
Giulio Fantasia and Dylan Glennie had two hits each.
Alpena finished the game with nine hits, but was also helped out by seven hit-by-pitches in game, two of which hit senior Evan Hamp.
The Wildcats got on the board in the second inning after Fantasia, Dylan Hoes and Cody Tucker had RBI singles and Atkinson had a sacrifice fly. They upped their lead in the next inning after Atkinson hit a two-run single, Fantasia added an RBI single Hoes had a sacrifice fly.
Cheboygan went down easy the first two innings before drawing a walk in each of the next two innings.
Atkinson came up big again in the second game after he drilled a pitch to center field with no outs to score Hoes and Ryan Cadarette in the sixth inning.
“Tim’s (got) a super bat. He’s deadly. Anytime he’s up to bat, you can expect a base hit or the ball being hit hard somewhere,” Schultz said. “That’s key. The threat he has there for the other team, it puts a lot of pressure on them when he’s up there.
Hoes had reached on a walk and Cadarette had singled.
It was a solid cap on a game that saw the Wildcats fall behind early and rally to tie the game in the fifth inning.
Cheboygan chased Alpena starter Nick Skiba after just three innings, during which he surrendered five runs on four hits. Several errors also helped the Chiefs keep innings going, particularly the third inning when their entire order batted and they scored four runs to take a 5-1 lead.
Cadarette pitched the final three innings for Alpena and allowed just one hit and two walks.
Brady Marwede scored on a passed ball for Alpena in the second inning, but the Wildcats trailed entering the fifth inning. Brad Styma scored on an error in the third inning and Alpena added two runs in the fourth inning after an RBI single from Tucker and a sacrifice fly from Styma.
Cadarette and Fantasia led Alpena with two hits each.
Fantasia’s RBI single in the fifth inning scored Cadarette to tie the game and paved the way for Atkinson’s hit in the sixth inning. Styma led off the sixth with a flyout, but after Hoes and Cadarette got on base, Atkinson came through with arguably his biggest hit of the day.
Alpena will play at a tournament in Lake Orion on Saturday and is looking to keep its momentum going after earning four wins this week.
“We’re on a good start. We came out (with a win) this last game and the season’s looking good for us,” Myers said. “We’re going to put our best foot forward, bring our good pitching and hopefully the bats will come too.”
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.