Holding their own

ROGERS CITY-The Rogers City baseball team has had to grow up fast this season.

With a string of North Star League matchups against quality opponents, the Hurons have held their own so far.

The same was true on Monday when Rogers City split a home doubleheader with Atlanta at Schalk Memorial Field. The Hurons won the opener 10-1 and lost the nightcap 8-4.

Sophomore Quintin Kelly finished the day with two home runs and four RBIs. He was also the winning pitcher in the opener, allowing a run on six hits with three strikeouts.

“They’re definitely growing every day. We’re making some mistakes, but we’re learning from those mistakes and these kids are growing up,” Rogers City coach Wayne Karsten said. “We’ve hung with the big boys here in Northern Michigan. We hung with (Ty) Jones in Hillman, we hung with (Cody) Franklin in Alcona, so we can hang with anybody when we bring our A-game.”

Rogers City (7-8-1) attacked early in the opener and built a 7-0 lead after two innings. After Andrew Radke singled to score Brandon Darling, Kelly hit a solo shot to left field to give the Hurons a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

The Hurons tacked on five more runs in the second inning as four different players drove in runs. Darling and Justin Saile each had an RBI single and Casey Szatkowski had an RBI double.

Szatkowski finished with three hits and an RBI. Saile had two hits and an RBI.

Rogers City added three more insurance runs in the third inning and Kelly hit a two-run shot to put the Hurons ahead 9-0. Colton Fessler added an RBI single.

“We’ve been working on his swing in the batting cage and today it worked out during Game 1 where he connected with a few of them,” Karsten said of Kelly. “It’s trying to keep that head level and hit line drives. Home runs are just going to happen and you can’t try and hit home runs. He made good contact and the ball went out.”

Atlanta didn’t have much success against Kelly until the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Kelly was able to escape the jam though, inducing a flyout and a groundout to end the inning.

“We played Rogers City well. They’re a tough team and we played horrible in the first game,” Atlanta coach Sean Barrett said. “The rain really affected my boys, but we came back in the second game and played Atlanta baseball.”

The Huskies (13-3) finally got on the board in the fifth inning after an RBI single from Josh Barrett.

Taylor Juergens led Atlanta with two hits.

Behind senior ace Jacob Chambers, the Huskies fared much better in the second game.

The Hurons took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, after Kelly scored on a passed ball and Szatkowski had an RBI single.

Atlanta scored a run in the second inning and took the lead for good in the third inning. The Huskies scored a run on a passed ball and another on a balk before Chambers helped his cause with a solo home run to give Atlanta a 5-2 lead.

Chambers allowed four runs on five hits with five strikeouts. He allowed just one hit in the middle innings.

“He pitched a great game and the defense played great. Like I said we played Atlanta baseball that second game,” Barrett said. “The first game, I don’t know what team showed up that first game.”

Chambers finished with three hits and two RBIs. Kyle Klein had three hits and an RBI and Jay Webster had two hits.

Szatkowski and Darling led Rogers City with two hits each.

Atlanta added three more runs in the fifth inning when Chambers, Seth Teets and Klein hit consecutive RBI singles.

The Hurons added two runs in their final trip to the plate, but couldn’t make up the deficit.

Saile pitched the first 4 2/3 innings for Rogers City before Kelly came on in relief. They combined to allow eight runs on 13 hits.

Rogers City plays at Johannesburg-Lewiston today and at Au Gres on Thursday. Atlanta hosts Hillman on Thursday.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.