Alpena 14U routs Clinton Valley

The Alpena 14U baseball team started the 2014 Cal Ripken state tournament with a bang in a 33-2 five-inning mercy win over Clinton Valley on Friday.

“It feels good (to win). We got to pitch four of our pitchers, got to hit through the lineup and get some reps. They played really well today, consistent,” Alpena 14U coach Harry Guthrie said.

Alpena’s bats were strong throughout the entire game. It picked up five runs on five hits in the first inning, including singles from Rhett McDonald, Logan Gehrke, Josh Lucas, Bruz Coping and Aaron Nowak.

Each of these players but McDonald had an RBI while Noah Kent had an RBI single to give Alpena a 5-0 lead.

Clinton Valley answered back in the bottom of the first inning when Mike Lulgjuraj walked and was driven in by a Jack Miller single. Miller stole second, but was caught in a pickle between second and third.

Miller was named the MVP of the game for Clinton Valley.

Alpena went into the second inning with a 5-1 lead, which was the closest the game got as Alpena scored eight straight runs on six hits, one error and a walk to go up 13-1. Lucas led at the plate with a double and a run.

Clinton Valley shaved a little off the lead in the second inning when pitcher Mike Bastone singled, stole second and stole home to score. However, Alpena pitcher Bruz Copping struck out two to end the inning.

Copping was named Alpena’s MVP. He faced nine batters, struck out four and gave up two hits.

Clinton Valley drew a few walks in the remaining three innings, but didn’t have a hit for the rest of the game as it struggled against Alpena’s pitching.

Lucas Crosby struck out three straight in the third while McDonald and Gehrke struck out three in the fourth and fifth innings respectively.

Alpena’s biggest inning came in the third when it scored 12 runs on nine hits, one error and two passed balls. Lucas again led at the plate with a triple and a single while Nowak singled twice. Alpena went up 25-2 after three inning.

The fourth inning saw Alpena score seven more runs on eight hits. Gehrke and Copping led at the plate, hitting a double each and scoring. Alpena was now up 32-2.

Eli Alexander, McDonald and Lucas all singled and scored. Nowak and Cody Sumerix drew a walk and scored, meaning everybody who came to bat got to base on either a walk or hit and scored.

Alpena picked up one more run in the fifth inning after Gehrke drew a walk and was driven to second on a Lucas single. Copping and Nowak sac bunts drove Gehrke home as Alpena’s scoring glut ended.

“I’m really happy with the team, we got a lot of talent and we’re looking forward to going beyond here and play a couple of more tournaments,” Guthrie said.

Alpena faces Clinton Valley today at noon and 3 p.m. at Alpena High School.

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