Grand Lake logs 6-1 win in Galion’s home opener; Graders win Friday, Sunday
GALION — After a Friday road victory to open the season, Galion returned to James D. Heddleson Field in Heise Park on Saturday for their home-opener against the Grand Lake Mariners.
It was a perfect night for baseball,l but the Mariners thwarted the excitement of the opener by defeating the Graders, 6-1.
Grand Lake got the scoring started in the top of the first inning after an error by shortstop Jacob Hoover put Patrick Raiff at first. A stolen base and a flyout to center put Raiff in scoring position with two outs and would score on an RBI single by Tucker Linder. The Graders would go in order in the bottom of the first (flyout, strikeout, flyout).
The Graders’ starting pitcher, Kyle Kovach would strike out the first batter in the top of the second before allowing back-to-back singles to Bryan Chilton and Nic Varda. With runners on first and second, Galion was able to escape the Grand Lake threat when Justin Mercer grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. The Graders would again go 1,2,3 in the bottom of the second inning (groundout, groundout, strikeout looking).
In the top of the third, Steven Fitzsimmons delivered a lead-off home run to right field to put the Mariners up 2-0. Raiff would belt a single but would be picked-off by Kovach while leading off of first base.
Galion’s Joe Crank delivered their first hit of the game, a single to lead-off the third but would not make it to second as Hoover grounded into the fielder’s choice. Hoover would be stranded at second when the inning concluded.
Innings four through seven provided little action as Grand Lake recorded just a single by Malave Bettinger in the sixth while Galion had four hits, singles off of the bats of Noel (fifth and seventh), Hettinger and Kent (sixth). The Graders would strand all six of their baserunners in that time frame and still trail 2-0 after seven innings of play.
Fitzsimmons would come calling again for the Mariners in the top of the eight with another solo blast over the fence to give Grand Lake the 3-0 lead. After two quick groundouts, Linder would reach on another single and would score a run when Bettinger delivered a two-run homer to put the Mariners up; 5-0. Blake Buckman belted a double and Chilton a single to continue the Mariners’ threat. Buckman would eventually score on a wild pitch by Dustin Baird to make the game 6-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth. After a Kent strikeout, Hathaway would step to the plate and deliver his only hit of the game, a solo home run to put an end to the Grand Lake shutout.
That would be the last of the offensive output for either team on the night. Tyler Hankins picked up the win for the Mariners while Kovach took the loss. Kovach threw six innings of work, allowed six hits and two runs (one earned) while walking one and fanning three (24 batters faced). Clay Davies threw an inning and recorded a strikeout against three hitters. Sam Stewart gave up four hits and four runs (three earned) in just 0.2 innings of work (six batters faced in the eighth). Baird (0.1 IP) and Jordan Peck (IP) gave up one hit (Baird) and walked one batter apiece.
Grand Lakes scored six runs on 11 hits, committed no errors and left seven runners on the base path. Galion scored one run on six hits, committed four errors and stranded nine.
Graders 11, Grand Lake 9
GALION — With a record of 1-1 on the early season, the Graders were back at it Sunday evening in Heise Park against the Mariners again. This time, the game ended in favor of the home team in dramatic fashion by a final of 11-9.
Grand Lake would put together 15 hits to score their nine runs but committed six errors and stranded nine in the loss. Galion finished with 11 runs on 18 hits, committed two errors and left 10 runners on base.
Brock Balderson earned the win for Galion and Alec Whaley took the loss. Osvaldo Duran got the starting nod for the Graders and worked the first five innings. Duran gave up nine hits and six earned runs while walking one and fanning eight of the 25 hitters he faced. Specht came on to work 0.1 innings and had a rough go of things, giving up four hits and three earned runs while facing just five batters. Brandt Nowaskie threw 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one in six hitters faced. Balderson worked the final two innings allowing just one hit, walking one and striking out four.
Crank had a big day at the plate with three singles, three runs scored and two runs batted in. Hathaway had a single and a home run en route to scoring twice and driving in two. Giavedoni had a three-hit game as well, belting a single and two doubles and recorded an RBI. Hoover had two singles, a double and a run scored and Noel delivered a single. Nowaskie scored twice and had a single while Freeman recorded a single and an RBI for the game.
While the entire line-up for Galion was hitting, no one was hitting better than Josh Kent. Kent finished the game with four total hits, three runs scored and three RBI. Two of Kent’s hits were singles and the other two were home runs, including the two-run blast that broke the 9-9 tie in the bottom of the ninth to give Galion their first walk-off victory of the 2017 season.
Graders 8, Licking County 2
NEWARK — The Galion Graders began their Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League season on the road with a trip to Newark to face the Licking County Settlers at Don Edwards Stadium.
With the team having only being together since Monday June 5, the season started with an 8-2 victory.
Starting on the mound in the first game of the 2017 campaign was Brody Basilone. Basilone threw seven innings of work, scattering five hits and giving up two earned runs while walking two batters and striking out three with 27 batters faced. Christian Specht came on in relief to earn the win with an inning pitched and two hits allowed with three batters faced. Brock Balderson worked the final inning without a hitch and faced just three batters, throwing just three pitches. Addison Albright took the loss for the Settlers.
Brady Hettinger delivered a single and scored three runs for the contest in the lead-off spot. Josh Kent had a three single day at the plate while driving in two runs and scoring once. Austin Hathaway recorded an RBI and stole two bases. Braxton Giavedoni delivered a double in five at-bats, scored once and drove in a run. Matthew Noel had an RBI while teammates Matthew Freeman, Parke Phillips and Joe Crank all scored a run apiece.
Team batting statistics: 5/39 at the plate, two walks, six strikeouts and four runners left on base.
Galion committed no errors in the field in their first official game as a unit. Licking County finished the game with six.
Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy
Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048