GALION — On Thursday evening, the Galion Graders put a wrap on their three-game home series against the visiting Muskegon Clippers.
Following a split of the first two games of the stint, Muskegon would earn a series win over the reeling Galion squad, playing their way to a 5-3 victory. With the win, the Clippers improved to 17-16 on the season while the Graders fell to 8-23 in Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League action.
Things got off to a slow start for both teams as the first two and a half innings saw just four combined hits and only one of them for the home team, a single from newcomer Joseph Watts in the bottom of the second. Galion would get things going though in the bottom of the third as Ontario product and Ohio State bound Avery Fisher singled with one out. In stepped DeVonte Washington who would also single and thanks to sloppy play in the field by the Muskegon third baseman, Fisher would come around to score while Washington made his way all the way to third. Andrew Sharp would proceed to groundout to the shortstop but, in the process, scored Washington to give the home squad the 2-0 lead. Sean McLaughlin would single with two outs but would be stranded at first as Steven D’Eusanio went down on strikes to end the frame.
After a quiet fourth, Muskegon plated two runs in the visitor’s half of the fifth to even the score. The Graders would be unable to respond as they went down in order in their portion of the fifth. In the top of the sixth, Muskegon would take their first lead of the contest, scoring one to put them ahead; 3-2. McLaughlin tripled with one out in the home half of the inning but would remain stranded in scoring position.
Neither team would strike in the seventh despite Watts leading off the Galion half with a single to send the game into the eighth with the Graders still trailing; 3-2. The Clippers would tack on two insurance runs in their half of the eighth to stretch their lead to 5-2, sending the home squad up to bat, down to potentially their final six outs.
Washington singled to start the eighth for the Graders before moving on to second via a wild pitch to Sharp. Washington proceeded to swipe third base during that same at bat. Following Sharp’s strikeout, McLaughlin would reach first on a fielder’s choice that plated Washington, thus rewarding his base running savvy. Galion would strand McLaughlin at first however as D’Eusanio and Bryce Ray went down swinging for outs two and three, respectively.
Galion held Muskegon at bay in the top of the ninth to keep the game at 5-3 headed into the bottom of the frame but the Graders would go down 1,2,3, leading to the 5-3 defeat.
Garrett Kuns got the nod as the starter for the home team and went 7⅔ innings before being replaced by Chase Jessee. Kuns took the loss, giving up seven hits and five earned runs while walking nine and striking out eight. Jessee finished the contest and struck out two in his 1⅓ innings of work.
Both teams managed seven hits on the day while Muskegon committed the only error of the contest. The Clippers stranded nine on the bases in the win while the Graders left five on the base path.
Offensive statistics for Galion on Thursday were: Team- 7/34, 3R, RBI, SB, 14K, 3B; Watts- 2-1B; Fisher- 1B, R; Washington- 2-1B, 2R, SB; McLaughlin- 1B, 3B and Sharp- RBI.
The Graders hit the road on Friday to Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan for a three-game stint against the hosting Michigan Monarchs. Following the All-Star break, Galion will return home for a three-game series with the visiting St. Clair Green Giants at Heddleson Field in Heise Park starting on Thursday, July 18.
Muskegon 13, Galion 3
GALION — Back on Wednesday, Galion and Muskegon met up for game two of their series in Heise Park with the Clippers using a big, seven-run seventh inning to earn the victory; 13-3.
Muskegon took the lead early, scoring a run apiece in both the first and second frames before Galion knotted the score at two apiece in the bottom of the second thanks to three Clippers’ errors. The Graders earned their first lead in the home half of the third after Sharp led-off with a double and eventually came around to score Galion’s third run on a Ray sacrifice fly.
However, the home squad would net just one hit, a two-out single from Ryan Strittmather in the bottom of the seventh, throughout the remainder of the contest while the Clippers scored one in the fourth to tie the game. From there, it was all Muskegon as they plated another run in the sixth before tallying the big seventh. The Clippers would go on to score one run apiece in both the eighth and ninth en route to the 10-run victory.
Jarrett Miller started the game on the hill for Galion and went the first six innings, giving up seven hits and six runs (five earned) while walking one and fanning three to be dealt the loss. Troy Vermillion came on in relief and went an inning, allowing a pair of hits and five runs (four earned) while walking five and recording one strikeout. Parker Brown relieved Vermillion in the eighth and lasted 1⅓, giving up one hit and two runs (one earned), walking four batters and sitting a pair down on strikes. The Graders final pitcher used in the contest was D’Eusanio. D’Eusanio tossed the remaining ⅔ of an inning, picking up a strikeout in the process.
Muskegon scored their 13 runs on 10 hits, left 10 on the bases and committed six errors in the field on Wednesday. The Graders plated three runs on five hits, left eight on and finished with four errors of their own.
Offensive numbers for Galion in the loss were: Team- 5/34, 3R, 3RBI, BB, 7K, 2B; Sharp- 2B, R; Ray- R, RBI; Watts- 1B; Austin Harper- R, RBI; JP Bitzenhofer- 1B; Kuns- 1B, RBI and Strittmather- 1B.
Galion 4, Muskegon 2
GALION — Returning home from Lima on Tuesday evening, the Galion Graders opened their three-game series with the Muskegon Clippers with a 4-2 victory.
Galion went up 1-0 after two frames and 3-0 after four and never looked back despite a run from the Clippers in the sixth. Entering the bottom of the eighth still up 3-1, the Graders tacked on an insurance run before giving up the final run to Muskegon in the top of the ninth en route to the two-run victory.
James Kontur pitched his way to the victory as the Galion starter, going seven innings while scattering four hits and allowing one, unearned run. Kontur walked one batter and picked up seven strikeouts in his efforts. Christopher Punka came on for the eighth and allowed two hits while striking out one before giving way to Jessee in the ninth. Jessee picked up the save despite allowing one hit and one earned run while issuing two walks in the ninth.
Kuns played the hero for the Graders at the plate, belting a single and a double that drove in three of the four runs while also stealing a bag in the contest. In total, Galion scored their four runs on nine hits, left eight on the base path and committed a total of five errors in the field of play. Muskegon scored two runs on seven hits, stranded 10 and had one error defensively.
Other offense for the Graders in Tuesday’s win came from: Team- 9/32, 4R, 4RBI, 3BB, 9K, 3SB, 4-2B; Sharp- 2B; D’Eusanio- 1B, R; Ray- 1B; Harper- 2-2B, 1B, R, RBI; Bitzenhofer- 1B, 2R, SB and Washington- SB.
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