Hilllman baseball takes two from Hurons

HILLMAN-The slightly warmer weather on Thursday was undoubtedly a nice change of pace for the HIllman and Rogers City baseball teams.

Both teams played well, but Hillman beat Rogers City in tight 5-3 and 3-0 games.

“It’s great to play some tight games in real baseball weather after playing in football weather all season,” Hillman coach Rick Firman said.

The opener started out neck-and-neck as Rogers City took a 2-1 lead after two innings.

The Hurons scored in the first inning when Brandon Darling drew a walk. He stole second base and was later driven in by a Casey Szatkowski double to take a 1-0 lead.

Rogers City’s Noah Lafferty was hit by a pitch in the second inning and was eventually scored on a passed ball to give the Hurons a 2-0 lead.

Hillman’s Ty Jones pitched a complete game for the win. He gave up three hits, three walks and struck out nine.

The Tigers (14-2) struggled in the first few innings against Hurons pitcher Justin Salie. Salie struck out two in the first inning and gave up only two hits in the first two innings.

Hillman got on the board in the bottom of the second inning after David Julka was driven in by a Gunnar Libby single to narrow the Hurons’ lead to 2-1.

Hillman pulled to a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning when it knocked in four runners off five hits, one error and one passed ball.

Julka singled to clear the bases and give Hillman a 3-2 lead. Steinke reached base after a fielding error after which Trenton Hopp singled. Julka and Steinke were then driven in by a Libby single to give Hillman a 5-2 lead.

Salie calmed down on the mound after that, giving up only two more hits. He pitched the full game for the loss. He gave up 10 hits, two walks and struck out three.

The Hurons got on the board one last time after Jacob Malocha drew a walk and was driven in on a Quintin Kelly single to narrow Hillman’s lead to 5-3.

Hillman scored early in the second game after VanPamel singled in the first inning. Henigan then drove in VanPamel with a single to give Hillman a 1-0 lead.

Henigan’s pinch runner Charles Banks later scored on a double by Dylan Ross to put Hillman up 2-0.

Henigan pitched a full game for the win. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out seven.

The Tigers scored one last time in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead after VanPamel stole home on a passed ball.

Kelly pitched for Rogers City and gave up no more hits and only one walk for the rest of the game. He pitched a complete game for the loss, giving up seven hits and striking out four.

The Hurons have several chances to score throughout the game, but couldn’t convert.

Their best chance came in the third Andrew Radke singled and was driven to second by Malocha. This rally was stymied when Malocha was tagged out between bases while Radke was left stranded.

Casey Szatkowski singled in the fourth inning with one out and stole second base. The Hurons were again stymied after Henigan struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

The Hurons’ last scoring chance came in the fifth inning when Clay Nadolsky drew a walk on Henigan. Nadolsky took a lead on the base path as Alex Hincka hit a ball hard along the first baseline.

This scoring chance disappeared after Ross snagged the line drive at first base for the out and tagged first to turn the unassisted double play and end Rogers City’s scoring chance.

“We played great, we’ve been playing good for a couple of weeks now and we’d just like to keep playing good,” Firman said.

Hillman travels to Alcona on Monday while Rogers City travels to Atlanta the same day.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.