Alpena commands the day

Aidan Goike beat Clinton Valley with his arm and his bat on Friday.

Goike struck out 12 on the mound and then blasted a grand slam to center field to give the Alpena Green 12U baseball team a 12-0 win over Clinton Valley in the opening round of the 12U Cal Ripken State Tournament at Rohn Field.

“It was a good feeling, just jogging around the bases. It felt pretty good at home,” Goike said. “We just stayed focused. We got off the bat and we did good base running and we kept the lead.”

The win not only gave Alpena a great start to the tournament, it gave Alpena another win over one of their top rivals for the state title. Last year as a 9U team, Alpena topped Clinton Valley in the state title game.

Alpena finished with 13 hits. Goike had three hits and four RBIs. Owen Limback had three hits and a pair of two RBIs. Colby Plowman had two hits including a two-run home run that sparked Alpena’s offensive outburst. Eli Winter also had two hits.

Alpena went quietly in the first inning, but took command of the game early in the second inning when Plowman hit a two-run shot down the right field line. It jumpstarted Alpena’s offense as it added three runs in the third inning, two runs in the fourth and five runs in the fifth.

“It’s a key (offense) because you never know once tournament play starts (if you’re going to hit),” Alpena coach Chris Limback said. “I think we went two innings before we got a run, so it can go either way. But we got the big hit and Colby got us going.”

Goike was on fire early, fanning nine of the first 10 batters he faced, including the first seven in a row. He allowed no hits and stranded four base runners. He escaped a jam in the fourth inning, stranding runners on the corners.

Alpena kept its offensive momentum going in the fifth inning and took advantage of a fielder’s choice to score Kyle VanDusen. With two outs and the bases loaded, Goike waited patiently for his pitch and drove one deep to center field to send his teammates streaming out of the dugout in jubilation.

“He’s a great athlete and that’s what I tried to tell him when he got up there; just wait on it and he found his pitch and drove a pitch deep to center field,” Limback said.

Alpena will face Alpena Grey today at 1 p.m. and Alpena’s 11U team at 3:15 p.m. Limback credited his team with keeping control of the game once it took the lead early.

In sports it’s so much about momentum and we seized momentum and never gave them a chance,” he said. “It was huge for our team.”

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