OTTAWA LAKE, Mich. – A team badly looking for some offense and a win against a quality opponent, got both as a pair of four run innings keyed Evergreen’s 8-3 win over perennial southeast Michigan power Whiteford north of the border on Tuesday.
“We scored early which has been unusual for us this year,” said Viking coach Brian Nagy. “That set the tone and made us get into a comfort zone a little bit more. Hopefully this starts a trend for us.”
The Vikings broke a scoreless tie in the third when Bryce Hudik drew a walk leading off. Nick Etue rapped a one-out single to put runners on first and third but the Bobcats eluded a score when first baseman Hunter Nagle threw out Hudik trying to score on Alec Truckor’s grounder.
However, after Noah Eisel drew a walk to load the bases, Levi Carson finished a 10-pitch at bat by drawing ball four on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run.
Phoenix VanOstrand followed with a sharp single to right, driving in a pair, then Teagen Pinkelman added on with a line drive single to plate the fourth run of the inning.
Those runs proved to be enough for Etue as the senior right-hander put together his best outing of the season, allowing just one walk and scattering seven hits in getting the win.
“He limited the number of walks tonight and our guys did a better job of catching the baseball behind him, both of those were better than the previous game he had. That makes the confidence level go up. It gives Nick more confidence in his defense and those guys faith in him because he’s throwing strikes,” said Nagy.
Etue allowed a single run in the fourth, when a fly ball down the right field line fell for a double off the bat of Howie Ewing and he eventually scored on John Gibson’s base hit.
Whiteford chopped the Vikes lead in half in the fifth on Nolan Adams’ RBI double.
Evergreen put the game away in the seventh, getting to Gibson and then Ewing for four more tallies.
Nick Hudik was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Etue bounced a single through the hole on the left side, then Truckor laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases.
Eisel slashed a single past the third baseman to score two, then Carson followed with double up the gap to mark a third.
Pinkelman brought home the fourth on a suicide squeeze to make it 8-2.
“Getting big hits like what Noah and Levi had in the seventh just makes us relax a little because we had been pressing a lot offensively,” explained Nagy. “Again, hopefully this begins a trend where we can relax and have some fun at the plate. Beating a team like Whiteford is important, they were picked again to win their league up here so hopefully what we had today is a trend.”
Evergreen (3-7) plays at Archbold Friday in an NWOAL make-up game before traveling to Lake Saturday.
Joe Blystone can be reached at email@example.com