2015-04-27 / Sports

Lapse costs Brown City tourney title

By Sports Staff

NORTH BRANCH - Youthful, inexperienced teams can give a baseball coach some frustration.

It happened Saturday, April 18, for Brown City coach Jesse VanBuskirk when his team was on the verge of winning the North Branch Tournament. Leading 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Green Devils gave up three unearned runs and lost to North Branch, 4-3.

Junior Joe Hagner had tossed a solid game for Brown City through six innings. Then, everything went wrong. A single, two errors and three passed balls led to the Broncos’ three-run rally.

“Hopefully,” shrugged VanBuskirk,” this will be a learning experience for this team.”

The Green Devils, now 3-5 on the season, have played a very competitive early schedule and have showed some potential.

“I think there is,” VanBuskirk said. “I’m happy with the progress, so far, as long as we continue to grow.”

Hagner, who took the loss, scattered nine hits in the game but struck out 11 batters and allowed just two earned runs.

Junior Eric Burgess paced the hitting with a single, double and two RBI. Austin Hoff and Hagner each added an RBI. – D.B.

NORTH BRANCH: Two walk-off wins gave North Branch its own tournament title on April 18.

In the opener against Bad Axe, Mac McGough pitched the complete game throwing a one-hitter on 15 strikeouts for the 2-1 win. North Branch coach Chuck Jacobson said the game was all tied up at 1 apiece heading into the bottom of the seventh inning when Zach Fish led off with a double. Tyler Kohler’s sacrifice fly sent pinch runner Zach Vanwormer to third with one out. Jeremy Tumblin then connected on a single, allowing Vanwormer to reach home.

Brown City defeated Chesaning in the other game opener setting up a North Branch versus Brown City final. In the final, Kohler pitched a complete game, settling down after allowing two quick runs in the first inning. North Branch trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, when McGough led off with a single. After Bobby Schaudt and Fish belted out singles, Kohler’s hit loaded the bases. Jacobson said two wild pitches allowed McGough and pinch runner Tumblin to score to tie the game. Brannon Roach then drew a walk keeping the rally alive. North Branch won it 4-3 when pinch runner Quinten Andrews scored on Terry Honicutt’s sharp grounder to third that pulled the first baseman off the bag on the throw.

In consolation, Bad Axe defeated Chesaning 6-5.

On April 17, the Broncos split with Michigan Lutheran Seminary, taking the opener 3-2, but dropping the nightcap, 4-0.

Branden Berlin went the distance in game one.

“It was an exciting game as the Broncos took a 2-1 lead into the seventh,” said Jacobson. “We gave up an unearned run in the top of the inning to allow MLS to tie. The Broncos then scored in the bottom of the seventh to get the win.”

Schaudt led off the inning with a single, went to second on an over throw, then pinch runner Vanwormer took third on Kohler fielder’s choice and scored on a line-shot single by Fish for the walk off win.

Brendan Olson was 1-for-4 and scored a run, Schaudt had two hits and scored once, Fish was 1-for-4 with the game winning RBI and Berlin scattered three hits and struck out nine in seven innings.

Jacobson noted that the second game didn’t go so well.

“Our bats went quiet as we failed to score,” Jacobson said. “Dakota Dufort took the hard luck defeat.”

North Branch is now 10-2 on the season. – L.P.

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